Philippines must exercise rights to build structures within EEZ in WPS: Carpio

Antonio Carpio. - The Star file picture

MANILA (Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN): The Philippines should exercise its rights and build structures within its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the West Philippine Sea to deter foreign incursions, retired Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said Thursday (April 15).

The retired magistrate backed a proposal of American technology and research company Simularity for the Philippines to put up outposts in its unoccupied features in the West Philippine Sea.

“That will be effective because the arbitral award says we have an EEZ and within the EEZ only the coastal state, the Philippines can put up structures, artificial structures, and we have to exercise that right, ” he said in an interview with ABS CBN News Channel.

The international arbitral ruling in The Hague in 2016 declared China’s nine-dash claim to most of the South China Sea, including the West Philippine Sea, as invalid and baseless.

China, according to the ruling, violated Philippine sovereignty and Filipinos’ right to fish and explore resources in the West Philippine Sea. Beijing continues to reject the ruling.

Liz Derr, CEO and co-founder of Simularity, in an online forum on Wednesday said the Philippines should occupy the unoccupied Spratly features within its EEZ to protect its sovereignty.

She said this can be done through inexpensive means like building lighthouses and monitoring stations, without having to disturb ecology. Vietnam, she said, managed to do this without provoking a war with China.

“There are many unoccupied features within the Philippine EEZ. They are basically sitting there for the taking, ” she said, urging the Philippines to focus on efforts to make sure no more features are taken.

The 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea requires all signatories to seek peaceful resolutions to disputes to maintain regional stability. This includes the ban on building and occupying unoccupied features.

However, Carpio believes Derr’s suggestion can be done.

According to him, the Philippines can build on features within the EEZ that are submerged at high tide because the arbitral award said those waters belong to the Philippines.

“There is the Declaration of Conduct of 2002 which prohibited the building of structures in uninhabited features but we should interpret this to mean that territorial dispute, to refer to the territorial dispute, to features that are above water at high tide, ” he said.

“If they were unoccupied in 2002, you cannot occupy them now, ” Carpio added.

“But with respect to the EEZ which are submerged at high tide, the tribunal said, those are EEZ, and under UNCLOS it is only the Philippines that can put up an artificial structure, so we should take advantage of that.”

“Otherwise, China will beat us. China will just put up something there, and there’s nothing we can do. We should put up structures within our EEZ, ” he also said. - Philippine Daily Inquirer/Asia News Network

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 46
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3

Next In Aseanplus News

Malaysian student wins world public speaking competition
Asia’s Covid-19 success stories - Taiwan and Singapore, are now facing new virus threats
Thailand to ease some dining restrictions in capital, offer vaccine to restaurant staff
Singapore limits Taiwan travel as both countries battle Covid-19 resurgence
What do the former UK homes of Tim Burton, Rihanna, Jay-Z have in common? They are all sought after by Hong Kong buyers
Feminist artists turn 700 misogynistic comments into 100 kilograms of art in China to protest cyberbullying against women
Tesla quick to show support for China’s new data collection rules after sharp decline in April sales
Realme founder plays down impact of India’s Covid-19 crisis on budget smartphone maker, saying demand could take off once worst is over
Britain’s rule of Hong Kong was ‘occupation’, say draft teaching materials for revamped liberal studies
Taiwan urges no panic buying as new COVID-19 rules kick off

Stories You'll Enjoy