A PROGRESSIVE party-list congressman has hailed the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) for entering in a multilateral air encounter code last Friday during a conference in Singapore.
Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano lauded the move to instill peace within the region, adding there is a need for the pact due to the increasing air traffic in the region.
“The pact will establish peace and security in the ASEAN region as it includes an agreement on sharing information regarding terrorism threats. This could also improve the system for unexpected air encounters among aircrafts from different nations especially with the increasing air and maritime traffic in the region,” said Alejano.
However, the Magdalo lawmaker casts doubt on the power of the pact regarding cases of easing tensions in disputed territories.
“In the context of the West Philippine Sea dispute, we hope the pact will address territorial aggression. China, one of the ASEAN partners, does not even honor the existing international guidelines and rulings. While we can expect ASEAN states to abide, it might be a different story for China,” Alejano underscored
“Just last year, ASEAN with its international partners such as China adopted a similar code relating to sea encounters. Despite this, China’s aggression in our waters continued,” he added.
When asked about the effectiveness of the sea guidelines, Singapore’s Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen likens the guidelines to a seatbelt for they provide some protection albeit not completely.
“The old and existing guidelines proved insufficient to contain tensions in the West Philippine Sea with China constantly challenging the rules and norms. We need an agreement that would specifically address cases of aggression especially amid territorial disputes. Hopefully, a strong regional stance on the matter could be achieved to be able to ensure peace and stability,” Alejano concluded.