Author Topic: Carpio presses Duterte on EEZ defense  (Read 1353 times)


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Carpio presses Duterte on EEZ defense
« on: June 30, 2019, 01:37:21 PM »
Carpio presses Duterte on EEZ defense
By: Jerome Aning - Reporter / @JeromeAningINQ Philippine Daily Inquirer / 05:13 AM June 30, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — The constitutional provision on the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) is not “thoughtless” and “senseless” as President Rodrigo Duterte claims, Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said on Saturday.

A fierce critic of the Duterte administration’s handling of the country’s territorial dispute with China in the South China Sea, Carpio said all the fish and mineral resources in the country’s EEZ, particularly in the West Philippine Sea, belonged exclusively to the Filipino people under the Charter.

“The Constitution mandates that the ‘use and enjoyment’ of these resources shall be reserved ‘exclusively’ for the Filipino people,” Carpio said in a speech at the recognition day of the University of the Philippines (UP) College of Social Sciences and Philosophy in Quezon City.

“The use and enjoyment of these resources cannot be shared with, or given away, to foreign nationals. This exclusivity is not a ‘thoughtless’ and ‘senseless’ provision in our Constitution as President Duterte has unfortunately characterized,” he said.

The President on Thursday played down the constitutional provision that the country’s EEZ must be protected by the government.

“That is a provision for the thoughtless and the senseless. Protection of economic rights, of economic zones, resources? I am protecting the country and the 110 million Filipinos,” he said.

2016 deal with Xi

The President said he could not keep Chinese fishermen out of Philippine waters, citing a deal he struck in 2016 with Chinese President Xi Jinping allowing the Chinese access to the country’s EEZ.

He also said enforcing a ban on Chinese fishing in the West Philippine Sea, waters within the country’s 370-kilometer EEZ in the South China Sea, might lead to an armed confrontation with China, which also claims nearly the entire region on historical grounds.

Former Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario last week said the President could be impeached for allowing China to fish in the country’s EEZ.

Carpio explained that an EEZ was a sea zone prescribed by the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos), whose legal basis has been recognized by 167 states, including China.

“Unclos has reserved the use and enjoyment of all the natural resources in all the EEZs of the world exclusively to the respective adjacent coastal states. The framers of our Constitution have incorporated this exclusivity in our Constitution,” Carpio said.

< Edited >

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