Phl must reject ‘lopsided’, ‘unconstitutional’ verbal deal with China – Carpio
Maris Federez • July 5, 2019 • 622
Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio believes that the Philippines must set aside and reject what he calls as a “lopsided” and “unconstitutional” verbal agreement it forged with China.
The court official also expressed his agreement with Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. when the latter said in an interview that only the Philippines is allowed to fish in Philippine waters.
Justice Carpio, in a statement, said there is no official policy that allows China to fish in Reed Bank (locally known as Recto Bank).
“Secretary Locsin knows that there is no recorded minutes of the so-called verbal agreement between President Xi and President Duterte allowing the Chinese to fish in Reed Bank in exchange for Filipinos fishing in Scarborough Shoal,” said Carpio.
The Senior Associate Justice added, “Any such verbal agreement, if confirmed by the Philippine government, will bind the Philippines to allow the Chinese to fish in Reed Bank for as long as China allows Filipinos to fish in Scarborough Shoal.”
Carpio also underscored the difference between Reed Bank which is 8,660 sq. km in area, and Scarborough Shoal which is only 150 sq. km in area; emphasizing that “Filipinos can fish only outside the lagoon of Scarborough Shoal, not inside the lagoon which is the rich fishing area.”
He also noted that China has the largest fishing fleet in the world with huge modern trawlers, comparing it with the Philippines whose Filipino fishermen only have wooden boats with outriggers.
“The Chinese can deplete the fish in Reed Bank very quickly,” he stressed.
Justice Carpio also pointed out that the verbal agreement, aside from being clearly against the Constitution, is so lopsided it should be rejected by the Philippine government.
Reed Bank is within the Philippine Exclusive Economic Zone.
“Under the Constitution, the use and enjoyment of the fish and other natural resources within Philippine EEZ is reserved exclusively for Filipinos,” Justice Carpio further said. (with reports from Mai Bermudez) /mbmf
MANILA, Philippines – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) reported on August 20 sightings of Chinese Coast Guard in Ayungin Shoal within the Philippines exclusive economy zone (EEZ).
According to the military, the vessel remained in Ayungin Reef for almost three weeks.
The AFP Western Mindanao Command reported its first sighting of the Chinese vessel on August 1.
It leaves the area every time it runs out of supply.
“Nagmo-monitor lang sila ng mga galaw ng mga boat nila saka ‘yong sa atin din saka kung ano ‘yong nangyayari doon. They’re just there,” said Lt. Col. Stephen Penetrante, the AFP Wescom spokesman.
The official noted that the presence of the Chinese vessel does not interfere in their operations in the area where the BRP Sierra Madre is also docked to serve as a military outpost in the said waters.
“Wala namang conflict na gustong [gawin]. (They are not inviting conflict.) They are just there. Parang tolerating their presence,” Penetrante said.
As of this writing, China’s embassy in the Philippines has yet to respond on the matter. – MNP (with reports from April Cenedoza)
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte maintained that he will raise the arbitral ruling that favors the Philippines in the disputed territories in the West Philippine Sea when he visits China next week.
Duterte is scheduled to fly to China for a working visit from August 28 to September 3.
He will meet Chinese president Xi Jinping and talk about the Hague ruling, the code of conduct, as well as the proposed joint oil exploration in the West Philippine Sea.
“So whether you like it or not, would it make you happy or not, angry or otherwise. Sorry, but we have to talk the arbitral ruling, then what we get, if there is a start of the exploration and extraction of whatever there is in the bowels of the earth,” the President said during the inauguration of the 7.5 megawatt peak solar power project in the municipality of Odiongan, Tablas Island in Romblon on Wednesday (August 21).
“The proposal of 60-40 in our favor, would be a good start. I hope it would graduate to something like towards how do we solve the arbitral ruling peacefully,” he added.
The event was the President’s first public engagement after being out of the public eye for more than a week. – MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)
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