“The Netherlands strongly condemns all actions that are not aligned with UNCLOS and the 2016 arbitral award. Might does not make right. International law does. And so that is what will guide us.”
This was emphasized by Her Excellency Marielle Geraedts, the Netherlands Ambassador to the Philippines, in her remarks during the event, “Amplifying the True Narrative: West Philippine Sea Public Briefing.” The briefing was organized by the Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication (AIJC) in cooperation with the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the Philippines on February 7, 2024 at Club Filipino, San Juan City.
During the event, AIJC and NOW Group Chairman Mel Velarde shared the story behind his acquisition of the Murillo Velarde 1734 Map, which played a crucial role in the Philippines’ landmark victory at The Hague, where the country asserted its rights to Scarborough Shoal and the Spratly Islands in the West Philippine Sea.
Retired Senior Associate Justice Antonio T. Carpio delivered a keynote lecture on the Philippine island territories in the West Philippine Sea, while Commodore Jay Tristan Tarriela, spokesperson of the Philippine Coast Guard, presented a report on the current threats and challenges in defending the country’s rights over these waters.
Journalists Mara Cepeda of The Straits Times and Chino Gaston of GMA Network, together with host/moderator Roby Alampay of International Media Support, discussed the role of the press in debunking false narratives and amplifying the truth as they report on tensions and rights violations in the West Philippine Sea.
At the end of the program, the Velarde family presented the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands with an official replica of the Murillo Velarde 1734 Map.
Over 40 participants from the diplomatic community, including Ambassadors and various members of the diplomatic corps, as well as some representatives from the media, joined the public briefing.