UN Charter amendments to stop bullying of smaller nations

/ 12:12 AM August 03, 2016

It is disconcerting to learn from the Inquirer that the favorable judgment rendered by the United Nations-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague, in favor of the Philippines’ claim of sovereignty over Scarborough Shoal, can be easily ignored by a giant and greedy military power like China.

The fact that the arbitral tribunal has no power to enforce its decisions makes that international body useless and dysfunctional. That China even calls that court a puppet is more revolting, reducing our fine counsels and the UN-backed arbitration body a laughingstock and an ineffective mouthpiece of sea rights. The same scenario will result should other small nations that are victims of bullying by the Chinese bring their protests before this inefficacious court.


The tribunal’s inability to enforce its decisions lies in the oversight and lack of discernment on the part of the framers of the UN Charter; they failed to provide a vehicle for the enforcement of the arbitral tribunal’s judgments. Having said that, the efforts and repeated appearances and attendance of Philippine representatives in the hearings at The Hague, amounted to a wasteful expense of the people’s money.

In brief, the framers of the UN Charter, who included our very own brilliant Carlos P. Romulo, could have inserted a proviso that judgments and rulings of the Permanent Court of Arbitration are enforceable by the combined military might of its members to teach bully-countries a lesson and prevent their bullying and abuse of smaller nations.


It’s not too late for representatives to the United Nations to exercise enough resourcefulness and diligence in introducing an amendment to the UN Charter, to provide for an instrument that will enforce all judgments and rulings of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, especially relative to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. Otherwise, their inaction would confirm the Chinese comment that the UN-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague is a mere puppet.

—MARK SUELLO BARTE, Tierra Village, Jaro, Iloilo City

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TAGS: China, Permanent Court of Arbitration, Philippines, South China Sea, West Philippine Sea
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