PH can sue China for WPS reef, coral damage — Carpio
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines could sue China for damages over the destruction of corals in Rozul Reef and Escoda (Sabina) Shoal in the West Philippine Sea (WPS), retired Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said on Wednesday.
“Definitely, we can bring an action to a tribunal to recover damages for the destruction of coral reefs in Rozul Reef and Sabina Shoal,” Carpio said in an ambush interview after an event in Makati City.
Carpio also said that this settlement could still be collected should China refuse to pay.
“How do we collect that amount because China will not pay? So we owe China for Kaliwa Dam, for the Chico [River Project], so we will just offset it,” Carpio said.
“[W]e become the creditor and debtor to each other, there can be legal offsetting and that’s allowed,” he added.
The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) sounded the alarm on damaged coral reefs in Sabina Shoal and Rozul Reef, where suspected Chinese maritime militia vessels have been repeatedly called out for swarming and intruding into the country’s exclusive economic zone.
Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning on Thursday denied that China is behind the destruction of marine resources in the WPS.
China asserts that it has jurisdiction over most of the South China Sea, including the WPS, through its so-called ten-dash line.
In 2013, the then nine-dash line was challenged by the Philippines before the Permanent Court of Arbitration, but the 2016 Arbitral Award effectively dismissed the sweeping demarcation.