In a joint statement, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Management Association of the Philippines, and the Makati Business Club said the reef is “undisputed Philippines territory” rightfully under the 2016 Hague ruling based on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas.
“Our exclusive right over the Julian Felipe Reef carries with it the utilization of, and the obligation to protect, its economic benefits, such as its rich marine life and mineral deposits, for the well-being of each and every Filipino,” the groups said.
“China and the Philippines share many things in common including being subjugated by colonizers and having their natural resources plundered. Now that China is strong economically and militarily, we call on China to refrain from becoming an imperial power,” they added.
The business groups urge China to respect the sovereignty of the Philippines and other claimant countries to the South China Sea to achieve “peaceful co-existence.”
Other signatories were the Filipina CEO Circle, Bishops’-Businessmen Conference for Human Development, Judicial Reform Initiative, Cebu Business Club, and the Iloilo Business Club.