RP’s greatest threat since WWII

psyche-thumbOne of the biggest headaches confronting the new administration of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte is the dispute in the West Philippine Sea between China and the Philippines.

As we know, China is aggressively claiming  territories which are so close to the Philippines.

China has continues to undertake actions in bolstering its claim by manufacturing islands in the disputed areas.

 ADVERTISEMENT 

Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, has made  what I think is one of the most comprehensive and informative presentation of the  issue underlying this dispute between China and the Philippines, which is easily comparable to the Biblical epic battle between David and Goliath.

The incoming Duterte administration already has its hands full in ensuring that the territories that belong to our country are protected and preserved.

What is at stake?

According to Justice Carpio, what is at stake in the West Philippine Sea dispute are:

First, 80% of the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ), comprising 381,000 square kilometers of maritime space, and Second,  100% of the Philippines’ extended continental shelf (ECS), estimated at over 150,000 square kilometers of maritime space.

In aggregate, what is at issue is a huge maritime area of over 531,000 square kilometers, larger than the total land area of the Philippines of 300,000 square

Kilometers.

Either the Philippines keeps this huge maritime space, or loses it to China, Justice Carpio says.

Gravest Threat.

Over 531,000 square kilometers of maritime space, together with all the fisheries, oil, gas and mineral resources found within this vast area, is what China wants to grab from the Philippines.

This Chinese aggression is the gravest external threat to the Philippines since World War II, says Justice Carpio.

The root cause

The root cause of the South China Sea dispute is China’s 9-dashed lines claim,

which gobbles up large areas of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and Extended Continental Shelf (ECSs) of the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia.

Extent of the 9-dashed  lines

China’s 9-dashed lines claim encloses 85.7% of the entire South China Sea.

This is equivalent to 3 million square kilometers out of the 3.5 million square kilometers surface area of the South China Sea.

China did not explain the legal basis for the dashes.

The dashes had no fixed coordinates.

The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia protested China’s claim

under this 9-dashed lines map.

The Philippines has vigorously objected to China’s claims and has brought the matter to international arbitration.

According to Justice Carpio, the Philippines today is engaged in a historic battle to defend over 531,000 square kilometers of its maritime space (EEZ and ECS) in

the West Philippine Sea, an area larger than the total land area of the Philippines of 300,000 square kilometers.

This huge maritime space is part of Philippine national territory since the Constitution defines the “national territory” to include “the seabed, the subsoil, xxx and other submarine areas” over which the Philippines has “sovereignty or jurisdiction.”

Under United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the Philippines has “jurisdiction xxx with regard to the establishment and use of artificial islands,

installations and structures” within this huge maritime space.

Justice Carpio raises the question: “Can the Philippines prevent China from gobbling up this huge

maritime space?”

Justice Carpio challenges:  “All citizens of the Philippines – both government personnel and private individuals – have a solemn duty to prevent the loss of this huge maritime space.”

“It is a duty we owe to ourselves, and to future generations of Filipinos,” he concluded.

A big headache, it is.  (By Atty. Jay I. Dejaresco)



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *