By Rey Panaligan
Acting Chief Justice Antonio T. Carpio said the Philippines cannot invoke sovereign rights over the Panatag or Scarborough Shoal since the 2016 decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) did not settle the dispute with China for lack of jurisdiction.
Thus, Carpio said, the government should push for protocols with China on the Filipinos’ fishing activities in the contested area in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).
Carpio, a member of the Philippines’ arbitration team in the PCA, said the arbitral ruling clearly stated that Filipinos have the right to fish in the Panatag Shoal together with Chinese fishermen.
“The ruling says that Scarborough Shoal is a traditional fishing ground of Filipino and Chinese fishermen. So both can fish there,” he said.
In line with the PCA ruling, the Philippine government should talk to China and “establish protocols so we can fish in peace,” he said.
“We have to talk to them because we have a traditional fishing right there together with Chinese fishermen,” he added.