THE Supreme Court (SC) in a lecture at the University of the Cordilleras (UC) encouraged highland students to uphold and assert the award of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague over the South China Sea dispute against Beijing.
SC Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said China must respect the decision of said tribunal.
Carpio told students from the different law schools in Baguio City and La Trinidad that the Filipino people must be on the same "that we have this huge maritime space, it has been awarded to the Filipino people, we should treasure it, protect it, we should assert our rights to it because the tribunal said we own the fish within 200 Nautical Miles, we own the oil, the gas within 200 Nautical Miles, we should assert that.”
Under the ruling of the tribunal, China has violated the exclusive right of the Philippines to its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) by interfering with the fishing activities of Filipino fishermen within the Philippine EEZ, including imposing fishing moratorium within the Philippine EEZ. China has also interfered with the petroleum activities of Filipino vessels within Philippine EEZ and it failed to prevent Chinese from fishing within Philippine EEZ. There were constructions of artificial islands and structures in Mischief Reef and Subi Reef within the Philippine EEZ and continental shelf.
“The task of the younger generation is to convince the world, to convince the people of China that it is to the best interest of everybody that United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) should be followed, because it does not only protect the Philippines, it also protect other countries, and it also protect China,” Carpio added.
Carpio explained China’s grand design is to control the South China Sea for economic and military purposes.
Carpio said China also wants the sea as a sanctuary for its nuclear-armed submarines free from surveillance by US submarine hunting Poseidon airplanes or US nuclear attack submarines. China wants a second strike nuclear capability joining the ranks of the US and Russia, he said.
The Philippine EEZ in the South China Sea has an area of about 381,000 square kilometers.
Deducting the 4,650 square kilometers total territorial seas of Johnson South Reef, McKennan Reef and Scarborough Shoal, the Philippines has an EEZ of about 376,350 square kilometers in the said sea free from any Chinese claim, larger than the total land area of the Philippines of approximately 300,000 square kilometers.
All the living and non-living resources in this huge maritime area-the fish, oil, gas and other minerals belong exclusively to the Philippines.