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What is Ours is Ours!

“Ang sa Pilipinas ay sa Pilipinas,” these are the very words of the most
applauded second State of the Nation Address of our president, Benigno “Noynoy”
Aquino III, as he claimed his position on the territorial dispute regarding the
Spratly Island. Several states claimed that Spratly Island belongs to their country,
countries like China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei and the Philippines.
Spratly Islands, geographically located on the South China Sea, lies on the
coast of the Philippines which comprise less than four square kilometers of land
area spread over more than 425,000 square kilometers of sea. 1 It is known through
its richness oil reserves and natural gas. The main reason why several states claim
that Spratly Islands belong to their country.
I wish to dedicate this speech in behalf of the Filipino people who are willing
to fight for what we think is legally right. Our president clearly stated in his speech
for his second State of the Nation Address last July 25, 2011, “We do not wish to
increase tension with anyone, but we must let the world know that we are ready to
protect what is ours.” We will stand with a united cause, we will fight for the sake
of our country and every single soil that lies on our ground, every centimeter of
land, we will not give up for the sake and protection of our own territory.
It is clearly stated on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea,
an international agreement that resulted from the third conference on the Law of
the Sea which took place from 1973 through 1982 that defines the rights and
responsibilities of nations in their use of the world's oceans, establishing
guidelines for businesses, the environment, and the management of marine natural
resources,2 that a 200-mile exclusive economic zone including the seabed and the
water column, may be established by coastal States in which such States exercise
sovereign rights and jurisdiction on all resource-related activities, including
artificial islands and installations, marine scientific research and the protection of
the environment. Spratly Islands lie within the 200 nautical miles from Palawan
Islands. The Philippines will take what is written on the Law of the Sea, we are
signatory when it comes to this. States consisting of archipelagos, provided
certain conditions are satisfied, can be considered as “archipelagic States”, the
outermost islands being connected by “archipelagic baselines” so that the waters

inside these lines are archipelagic waters (similar to internal waters but with a
right of innocent passage and a right of archipelagic sea lanes passage similar to
transit passage through straits, for third States.) 3 Also, the Philippines stand
regarding this issue based on the Law of the Sea provisions that only archipelagic
states can claim archipelagic islands.
The Philippines will not fight for nothing. In terms of arms and weapons, we
will honestly say that we do not have enough weapons to defend our territory, but
we do believe that every single word and every single cry of the Filipinos, we can
reach our goals and attain our desires. Our willingness to prove that we can do
something is enough to speak for the betterment of our country.
Man's dominion over the earth is achieved in and by means of work. The
proper subject of work continues to be man, and the finality of work is always man
himself. There is no doubt that human work has an ethical value of its own, which
clearly and directly remains linked to the fact that the one who carries it out is a
person, a conscious and free subject, that is to say a subject that decides about
himself. We, Filipinos, will work with an ethical perspective of claiming what we
believe is ours.
In order to bring back the dignity of Filipinos’ especially on the third world
countries, we shall bear in our minds that this controversy is not attain by who
dominates, but attained by who really cares with a cause and definite purpose.
Many times, we are thinking that we are working or claiming for money. If this will
be the case, we will sacrifice the human aspect of dignity. I challenge now the
United Nation to help countries who lacks the capacity to fight with power. Help
them. Support them with cause. Acknowledge them with greater desires.
The United Nation can help them by reminding them that the first and basic
right of every person is the right to speak, this is essential to protect the dignity of
life. Respect for every person who cries for the betterment and for the sake of their
lives. Power should not be the basis of judgment in this world, voice should be
heard even on its lightest sound. Every cry of the poor should be the indication of
what is the true meaning of voice.
In behalf of the President of our country and the Filipinos at large, we claim
that the Spratly Islands belongs to the Philippines. Legally, it is written and been
decided on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea as a basis and
foundation of what we are fighting is extremely right and written. It is said and one
may follow.
The message that we want to convey in this convention, “What is ours is
ours.” We will not sit around knowing that several states are on our own backyard.
We will not sit around knowing they are getting what is set to be ours. We will not
sit around doing nothing. We will stand and fight for the things that we own and we
will safeguard it with our lives, with our dignity, as citizens of our country. We are
taking the possibility of upgrading our military, flow through modernization
especially on the equipments of our armed forces.
Filipinos are struggling and doing the best that we can be. Peace talks
should be the one we are implementing. We do believe that words can settle this
battle over a piece of land. Settling things by means of legality should be our
priority. Not always in our lives we can settle things by means of aggressive power.
There are still things that we can settle by means of words.
Each of us deserves to be respected. I, now, directly speak to the countries
who also claim the Spratly Islands. Each of us has reasons, for the sake of the
people, for the sake of the country and for the sake of our dignity. But, we must
believe that, sometimes, we value things more because of our intention.
We will fight for our sake. We will fight for the dignity of safeguarding our
own territory. We will fight for what we think is right.
To the UN, I salute your effort to decide on what you think is legally right.
However, I challenge you to go beyond what is expected of you. UN leaders, prove
that you are, indeed, leaders by providing less dangerous talks. Considering this, I
can see a better world in the near future a world which values humanity and its
dignity. Help the poorest of the poor by giving them the proper treatment and
proper respond to the issues they are up to. What is ours is ours.

-Miljohn Denver Y. Paynor