Carpio warns anew on joint sea exploration
Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio on Thursday reiterated his warning that the government’s planned joint exploration venture with China in the West Philippine Sea should “comply with the Constitution.”
He was referring to Article XII Section 2 of the Constitution, which states that marine resources within the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) should be reserved for the exclusive use of Filipinos.
“As long as the joint development (venture) complies with the Philippine Constitution and there is no waiver of our sovereign rights under the arbitral ruling, I have no objection,” Carpio said in a statement.
By “arbitral ruling,” he was referring to the July 12, 2016, ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague that invalidated China’s claim to nearly all of the South China Sea and recognized the Philippines’ sovereign right to fish and explore for resources in the West Philippine Sea.
West Philippine Sea is the local name of the waters within the Philippines’ 370-kilometer EEZ in the heavily disputed South China Sea.
Foreign Secretary Alan Cayetano on Tuesday said China was open to a 60-40 sharing in favor of the Philippines in a joint exploration in the West Philippine Sea.
“That’s our starting proposition and our Chinese counterparts are open to it,” Cayetano said, adding that the two sides would exchange drafts of a framework agreement in August or September. Cayetano has never spoken about how such a deal with China can be made legal. — DONA Z. PAZZIBUGAN
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