Connect with us


Philippines wins arbitration case against China over West Philippine Sea



The United Nation’s Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague, Netherlands on July 12 ruled 5-0 in favor of the Philippines in an arbitration case against China’s maritime claim, encroaching into the West Philippine Sea.

The Arbitral Tribunal upheld the Philippines’ position that China’s 9-dash line maritime claim, which they insisted to be based on a historical boundary, has also covered the Philippines’ 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

“[The] Tribunal concluded that, as between the Philippines and China, there was no legal basis for China to claim historic rights to resources, in excess of the rights provided by the Convention, within the sea areas falling within the ‘nine-dash line’,” PCA’s press release said.


Key rulings

In summary, the judges in the international tribunal made these key rulings:

  1. China has no legal basis for their “9-dash line.”

“The Tribunal concluded that there was no legal basis for China to claim historic rights to resources within the sea areas falling within the ‘nine-dash line.’”

  1. Spratly Islands have no EEZ.

“The Tribunal noted that the current presence of official personnel on many of the features is dependent on outside support and not reflective of the capacity of the features… (and) … that none of the Spratly Islands is capable of generating extended maritime zones.”

“The Tribunal found that it could – without delimiting a boundary – declare that certain sea areas within the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines, because those areas are not overlapped by any possible entitlement to China.”

  1. China has been unlawful towards the Philippines.

“China had violated the Philippines’ sovereign rights in its exclusive economic zone. The Tribunal further held that Chinese law-enforcement vessels had unlawfully created a serious risk of collision when they physically obstructed Philippine vessels.”

  1. China has harmed the environment.

By reclaiming the land in the South China Sea, including some parts of the West Philippine Sea, China has “caused severe harm to the coral reef environment and violated its obligation to preserve and protect fragile ecosystems.”

It was also reported that Chinese authorities failed to stop Chinese fishermen from taking endangered species from the disputed sea areas, such as corals, sea turtles, and giant clams, on a substantial scale.

  1. China should have stopped reclamation projects during the dispute.

“China’s recent large-scale reclamation and construction of artificial islands was incompatible with the obligations on a state during dispute resolution proceedings, insofar as China has… destroyed evidence of the natural condition of features of the South China Sea that formed part of the Parties’ dispute.”

The full text of the PCA Arbitration ruling on the Philippines’ case vs. China can be found here, as provided by the Philippine Star.

The Hague ruling came after three years since the Philippines filed an arbitration case against China on January 22, 2013. This came after years of dispute and conflict in the South China Sea. In 2011, the Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs under former President Benigno Aquino III then started referring to the disputed body of water as the “West Philippine Sea.”

PH welcomes The Hague ruling

Moments after The Hague released its decision, DFA Secretary Perfecto Yasay said the Philippines “welcomes” the tribunal’s award on the sea row against China.

“The Philippines welcomes the issuance today, 12 July 2016, of the award by the Arbitral Tribunal constituted by the Permanent Court of Arbitration under Annex VII of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea or Unclos on the arbitration proceedings initiated by the Philippines with regard to the South China Sea,” Yasay said in a statement during a press briefing.

“Our experts are studying the award with the care and thoroughness that this significant arbitral outcome deserves,” he added.

Considering how neighboring nations are also interested in The Hague ruling because their territories were also affected by China’s 9-dash line, Yasay said, “The Philippines strongly affirms its respect for this milestone decision as an important contribution to ongoing efforts in addressing disputes in the South China Sea.”

“The Philippines reiterates its abiding commitment to efforts of pursuing the peaceful resolution and management of disputes with the view of promoting and enhancing peace and stability in the region,” he added.

How to enforce the ruling vs. China

But there is another issue – there is no international police to enforce The Hague ruling. This is a critical issue, especially with China’s refusal to abide by the tribunal’s decision.

“The award is invalid and has no binding force. China does not accept or recognize it,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The lead counsel representing the Philippines in the arbitration case, Paul Reichler, said that enforcement relies on how affected countries react.

“It will depend on a great extent on how vigorously all of the affected states, all of the states which have been prejudiced by the 9-dash line, assert their rights against China,” said Reichler in a telephone conference with some journalists.

But Reichler clarified that he meant to say for affected countries to vigorously assert their rights “diplomatically, legally, and above all peacefully.”

According to Reichler, “If these other states stand up for their rights in the way that the Philippines has done, you’ll get the situation where all of the neighboring states are insisting that China withdraw its illegal claims and respect their legal rights which have been defined and recognized and acknowledged today, because those states have the same rights as the Philippines.”

The lawyer also attributed the Philippines’ victory against China as the victory of other coastal countries in conflict with Beijing, such as Vietnam, Indonesia, and Malaysia.

Reichler also said, “We think that this is not only the victory for the Philippines. This is also a victory for the rule of law and international relations.”

President Rodrigo Duterte called a Cabinet meeting an hour after The Hague’s decision was released, with Malacañang giving assurances earlier that the president would put national interest in the Philippines’ next move over the favorable ruling.


Be Informed. Beat The Trolls, Share The Truth

If you’re with us in our advocacy in fighting online lies, we’d appreciate any donation to help keep us moving.


Fake news sites to be aware of this 2018



With the widespread practice of misinformation using made-up stories and maliciously edited photos, Senate hearings have been conducted to determine whether new laws are needed to stop the spread of fake news. But you can contribute to the prevention of misinformation in your own way by not patronizing the content of the fake news sites that are causing confusion and baseless hate in the country.

In 2017, MemeBuster has published two lists containing websites that have posted fake stories.

The following are sites that MemeBuster has encountered while we are pursuing our cause of fighting fake news.

We have categorized the sites into active and inactive ones, seeing as how many fake news sites tend to be unavailable after some time. As of February 15, 2018, these are the active and inactive sources of fake news that we have encountered. We will continue to update this list as we bust more false stories.

Active Sites

1. has been an active source of fake stories that MemeBuster has debunked over and over again. It is also quite known for its ever changing About Us page, which now says that the site started out publishing fake stories for some La Sallian students’ thesis, but that it has stopped in May 2017 to focus on serious topics and general information. But La Salle Dasmarinas disowned the said research. even lied when they said they stopped posting fake news by May 2017. Even as late as December 2017, we still caught them publishing fake stories, among which are about Sanofi Pasteur research and development department revealing that they used embalming chemicals for Dengvaxia, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV hiring Arturo Lascañas and Edgar Matobato as his personal bodyguards, former President Benigno Aquino saying he’s willing to return money he got from the Dengvaxia deal, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promising visa-free entry to Filipino caregivers, and more.

This fake news site was also in our first list of fake news sites that we published in October 2016.

Continue Reading


Duterte raises bounty for killing communists to P25K



President Rodrigo Duterte announced that he is increasing the bounty he is offering for anyone who can kill communist rebels, saying it will be cheaper compared to waging a counterinsurgency campaign. The offer is now up from P20,000 to P25,000.

Duterte made the announcement at the oath-taking of newly-appointed officials in Malacañang. The president also reiterated that his controversial war on drugs will stay despite criticisms over the thousands of deaths and a preliminary examination by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for the possibility of committing a crime against humanity.

Reckoning that the campaign against communists would last for at least four years, Duterte has made a counteroffer.

“If you’re a CAFGU (Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit) or anybody here, you kill one NPA (New People’s Army member) and I will pay you P25,000. Kwenta-kwenta ko, mas makamura ako. Bilhin ko na lang itong mga yawa na ito (I calculated and realized it will save money. I might as well buy the devils),” he said.

He also stressed that he has nothing to fear as he has the Philippine Navy, Air Force, Army, and CAFGU.


In a recent speech to more than 200 rebels, Duterte also made a remark that soldiers can shoot female rebels “in their vaginas”. This comment did not sit well with women’s group Gabriela.

The president also reiterated his resolve to face the ICC and be put before a firing squad if he is found guilty of crimes against humanity to emulate Jose Rizal.

“Don’t worry about me, I can face the ICC. If they want to indict me, fine! I would love to experience what Rizal has experienced,” he added.

Meanwhile, in a statement, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines denounced Duterte’s reward offer to Lumads for every killed communist rebel saying it promotes a culture of violence in the country.

Manila Auxilliary Bishop Broderick Pabllo said that the statements promote a culture that normalizes violence and attacks the sanctity of life. He also urged the president to promote respect of the law instead of making such statements.

Sources: ( )


Continue Reading


How to spot fake news



How many times have you fallen for fake stories or seen friends and colleagues get victimized by misinformation? Two Senate hearings have been dedicated to discussing remedies to fight fake news in the country. But you don’t have to wait for any new laws to be created to contribute to the fight. You can do your part by identifying fake news and making sure that everyone who is willing to listen (or read) will know that a certain story is not factual at all.
Here are some eight pointers on how to distinguish fake news:

Does the headline sound too good to be true? Don’t take everything you read online to be true.

Netizens were duped by this obviously fake story with a headline “NASA hailed Duterte as the best president in the solar system.”

Check the URL. Some sites simply imitate the URLs of established news sources.

Some fake news and satirical sites are good at mimicking the URLs of reputable news sites simply by adding “,” “,” “tv-,” and others. Some also replace the letters in the URLs with numbers to trick people, such as or

Make sure the headline and/or image used matches the content.

Fake story makers take advantage of their readers’ tendencies to read only up to the headline or get their attention using some controversial photo that is actually not relevant to the content. The government-run news agency Philippine News Agency was slammed once for using a Vietnam war photo for a report about the Marawi siege.

Verify information by comparing information from competing sources.

Give yourself some peace of mind by ensuring that you check a story’s claims with different sources.

Check out fact-checking sites like and

Our website was founded amid the rise of memes that were deliberately made to spread disinformation during the 2016 elections,

with one of the more serious falsehoods being the meme that contained an invented quote from Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong endorsing then Philippine presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte. We also busted that story about the documents that spread online accusing former President Benigno Aquino III and other top government officials during his time of depositing gold in Thailand.

Vera Files is known more for fact-checking President Duterte’s claims when he makes speeches, such as his flip-flopping claims on his wealth, and the statements of other government officials.

Track down quotes and sources to see if everything in the story matches.

Many fake news writers have become quite good at masking the lies by mixing it with some facts. For instance, they would take a quote from a certain person and modify it. If you won’t check and triple check it, you’d really think that quote was accurate. A good example of that would be how a fake news site changed up current CBCP President Archbishop Romulo Valles’ statement, attributed it to former CBCP President Archbishop Socrates Villegas, and made it seem as though Villegas was telling the government to leave the NPA alone.

Watch out for “filter bubbles” that show only items based on personalized searches and be more conscious in engaging in diverse content.

Website algorithm may guess what you would like to see based on your search history and online behavior, which may lead to you seeing only information that agree with your beliefs and opinions. To avoid this, you have to ensure that you have access to diverse news from well-established sources.

Don’t hesitate to ask questions.

This is where the need to verify things often start. A world of information is at your fingertip. Just type a few words in the search engine bar, apply the tips mentioned above, and you’ll be on your merry way to discovering whether the story you are reading is true or not.


Continue Reading

What Others Read