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Maritime law expert: We have waived our rights in Panatag if we don’t protest

/ 07:19 PM November 23, 2018
Jay Batongbacal

Dr. Jay Batongbacal, director of the University of the Philippines Institute of Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea. INQUIRER.net file photo

A maritime law expert has called on the government to lodge a protest against China’s attempt to stop a Filipino television crew from doing a documentary on Panatag Shoal (Scarborough Shoal) in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

“I view that as an exercise of civilian control and administration…They are controlling an ordinary civilian activity, conducting interviews so that’s an indication of the extent of control that they are exercising in the area,” Prof. Jay Batongbacal told reporters on Friday.

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Members of the Chinese Coast Guard prevented the crew of GMA-7 from conducting interviews during their trip to Panatag Shoal early November, days before Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit to the Philippines early this week.

“Without the permission of China, you cannot carry out the interview here,” a smiling member of the Chinese Coast Guard told the journalist.

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Batongbacal said that if the government does not speak up against the latest case of harassment of China, it would be seen acquiescence or acceptance of the situation.

“Clearly, the Duterte administration is accommodating in a way China’s increasing control and administration of the area,” he said.

“If we don’t speak up, we have deemed to have waived our rights to that area so it’s important to make a protest.” /jpv

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