Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said on June 6 that President Rodrigo Duterte has not done anything in defending the Philippines’ territories and maritime entitlement.
This is despite the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s decision to uphold the Philippines’ claim over the West Philippine Sea and to declare China’s nine—dash line claim as something that is contrary to the United Nations Convention on the Laws of the Sea (UNCLOS) and has no legal basis. The said decision also affirmed that China’s move to bar Filipino fishermen from the disputed Scarborough Shoal was unlawful.
PCA also declared Mischief Reed, Reed Bank and Second Thomas Shoal “as part of the exclusive economic zone and continental shelf of the Philippines, and are not overlapped by any possible entitlement of China.” The court ruled that China violated its obligations as per the UNCLOS when it constructed artificial islands in Mischief Reef without asking for permission from the Philippines.
According to Justice Carpio, the Philippines should develop a national policy that would include three things. First, the Philippines must maintain friendly relations with China. Second, the country must defend the Philippine territory and maritime entitlements. Third, the country must nurture US-PH relations.
During a Meets Inquirer Multimedia session on June 6, Justice Carpio said, “This must be applied by our national leader. If our national leader cannot do all three, then he does not deserve to be our national leader because what is at stake is our survival as a sovereign and independent nation.”
Justice Carpio rated Duterte with an “A++” when it comes to the country remaining friendly with China, but it’s a different story with the other things.
“But on the two other things—defending our territories and maritime entitlements, he has not done anything yet,” Carpio said.
“Time is of the essence,” he said, so Duterte should act now.
Justice Carpio explained that if China succeeds in extending its boundary based on its nine-dash line claim, the Philippines will lose 80 percent of its waters and resources. Such loss will include Reed Bank, which is critical to the power supply of the Philippines, considering how the Malampaya, which provides 40 percent of the energy in Luzon, is projected to run out of gas in a decade.
“Unless, we develop Reed Bank as a substitute, we will have 10 to 12 hours of brownout in Luzon which will devastate our economy,” Carpio said.
He pointed out just how important the West Philippine Sea is as the country’s source of food.
“Also we get not less than 25 percent of our food supplies from the West Philippine Sea. We will lose all of that. Our fishermen cannot fish in their traditional fishing grounds in Scarborough Shoal and in the Spratlys,” Carpo said.
“We cannot defend West Philippine Sea, we cannot stop China unless we are united. That is the only way and I do not see that happening yet,” Carpio said.
And if the Philippines will lose in the territorial dispute, Carpio only has grim predictions.
“We will lose it forever, China will not give it back.”
Source: ( globalnation.inquirer.net )