The Duterte administration should stand by the fishermen allegedly harassed by Chinese Coast Guards on Scarborough Shoal (Panatag Shoal), acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio said on Friday.
In 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) upheld major submissions of the Philippines, including the declaration of China’s nine-dash line as contrary to United Nations Convention on the Laws of the Seas (UNCLOS) and has no basis in law.
The award also affirmed Philippines’ stance that China’s move to shoo away Filipino fishermen at the disputed Scarborough Shoal was also unlawful, among others.
“The Arbitral ruling stated that we have a right to fish in the territorial sea or Scarborough Shoal. That means our fishermen have the right to fish in the lagoon of Scarborough inside. But Chinese Coast Guard vessels have been preventing them from fishing inside, so that is already a violationn of the arbitral ruling,” Carpio told reporters during the 117 founding anniversary of the Supreme Court.
Carpio said it was wrong to take the fish harvested by the Filipinos.
“That’s not supposed to be done. We should protest and if you want to be forceful about it, we can bring another case against China for not complying with the ruling and demand damages. We can demand damages for economic loss that our fishermen suffered. That’s the course of action that we should take if we want to protect the interest of our fishermen,” he added. /vvp
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