Summary of Dr. Wilfrido V. Villacorta’s acceptance speech “Reflections on my Journey in Political Science and Political Practice”

Photo courtesy of Dr. Francisco Magno taken during the PPSA Distinguished Leadership Lecture, 1 March 2017

I was fortunate to have done my M.A. and Ph.D. studies in Washington D.C. and my doctoral dissertation research in the United Nations and in Southeast Asia. It was a privilege for me to have witnessed upclose the dynamics of domestic and international politics in my host countries during the escalation of the Vietnam War and the height of the anti-war movement in the 1960s, triggered by the assassination of the leading anti-war advocates, Rev. Martin Luther King and Senator Robert Kennedy.

My exposure to the realities of international politics deepened my appreciation of ideologies and alternative political and social systems. It strengthened my resolve to devote my career in the service of peace promotion.

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China's Complex Diplomacy and Its Challenges for the Philippines

Q & A with Jose Santiago “Chito” Sta. Romana, former journalist, lecturer, and ambassador-designate

to the People’s Republic of China.

Photo taken during In Search for a China Strategy, a symposium organized by Asia Pacific Pathways to Progress Foundation Inc. and UP Asian Center last August 17-18, 2016.

[NOTE: The answers to this Q & A draw in large part from a published article by the interviewee, titled “China’s Foreign Policy and the Territorial and Maritime Disputes Between the Philippines and China”, which appeared in A Quest For Regional Solutions: Challenges And Prospects For Conflicts In The South China Sea. Benedikt Seemann and Marie Antoinette De Jesus, Eds. Makati City: Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, 2016, pages 36-49.]  


The root cause of the problems between the Philippines and China has to do with the territorial and maritime disputes between the two countries. There are several dimensions to these disputes: the first is the issue of territorial sovereignty and the competing claims between the two countries over Scarborough Shoal and some maritime features in the Spratlys.

The second is the issue of maritime rights and jurisdiction:  the status of these contested islets, rocks and shoals, and their respective maritime entitlements, if any, and the competition for economic resources, such as fisheries, oil and natural gas, in the surrounding waters.

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Why the Hague Ruling Matters

Click here to Watch CNN Philippines' interview with Mr. Chito Sta Romana

Interviewer: How does this ruling affect relations between China anad the Philippines?

Chito Sta Romana: It’s a challenge and an opportunity. A challenge because how to convert this legal document – the legal advantage – into reality. How to convince the Chinese to accept this and to abide by this ruling. But the opportunity is that we are facing the Chinese now with a new administration. The new administration has signalled a less adversarial, more concillatory approach to China – so, that may work in the Philippines’ favor. However, expect the Chinese right now to take a hard line. Expect a barrage of media, diplomatic… a lot of hot words in the coming few days as they take a defiant stand. This is a bit reminiscent of what happened in the Tiananmen Square, when the whole world practically was condemning China, and the Chinese took their position. Until eventually, there was an economic boom and the situation turned. So, I think we’l see more of that – the Chinese will pay a price to their image but it will create ripples in Chinese society that could eventually work in our favor.

Tags: South China Sea, Arbitration, The Hague, Duterte Foreign Policy

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