MANILA, Philippines – Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla on Tuesday said it is about time that a case against China be filed before international tribunals for alleged massive coral harvesting and destruction of reefs in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).
“Pag uusapan namin yan ng Executive Secretary the soonest possible time because we are recommending the filing of such cases against the perpetrators of this evil act, the destruction of the environment,” Remulla told reporters.
[We will discuss this with the Executive Secretary at the earliest opportunity because we are recommending the filing of cases against the perpetrators of this evil act, the destruction of the environment.]
“With or without the territorial dispute, the destruction of the environment is a sin against humanity kaya [that is why] it’s a very good case to file on behalf of the Philippines and the sake of humanity itself,” added Remulla.
Remulla said they will be tapping the best legal experts in environmental cases to help the government.
“We will pursue these cases against China since marami na tayong ebidensya [we already have a lot of evidence],” he added.
He said the government has been gathering evidence against China’s destructive activities in the WPS for many years now but that the documentation only gained momentum in the last few months.
Remulla did not say what international tribunal the country would lodge the case.
The Department of Foreign Affairs, through spokesperson Teresita Daza said Manila has “consistently and repeatedly” raised the alarm over ecologically harmful activities conducted by foreign vessels in the country’s maritime zones.
Since 2020, the DFA has lodged more than 400 protests against China for the harassment of Filipino naval and coast guard vessels as well as fishermen in the WPS.