Reject fishing deal with China, Carpio tells Senate
MANILA, Philippines – The Senate should make a move to reject President Rodrigo Duterte’s verbal fishing agreement that he made with China’s President Xi Jinping allowing Chinese access to the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said Friday.
The senior magistrate, who was the guest speaker at a forum hosted by the National Youth Movement for the West Philippine Sea and UP Institute for Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea, said the President’s recent confirmation of the verbal agreement only shows the Senate should finally intervene.
Duterte claimed early this month that he had struck a deal with Xi in 2016 allowing Chinese fishermen to have access within the Philippines’ 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone.
This became a source of debate on whether the deal was legally binding. But Duterte’s confirmation of the deal in his interview with Pastor Quiboloy aired on Wednesday meant it was binding, Carpio said.
“The problem is it’s a verbal agreement and it’s already being enforced and there’s no ratification by the Senate because it’s a verbal agreement… It is being implemented before the Senate could ratify it so that’s why I said the Senate should…decide whether to ratify it or repudiate it,” he said.
“It’s (verbal agreement) against our Constitution that says the EEZ is exclusively for Filipinos. So I think the Senate will not ratify it because it’s purely against the Constitution,” he said.
Carpio said the Senate should find out more details about the agreement through the Secretary of Foreign Affairs.
‘They can scoop all the fish’
He also warned that the Chinese fishermen could deplete the resources in the West Philippine Sea because of the verbal agreement.
“They have the largest fishing fleet in the world with over 220,000 motorized fishing vessels. They can scoop all the fish there in less than one year,” he said.
“It’s so lopsided that the Senate would not approve it. So the ball now is in the court of the Senate,” he said./ac
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.