War over West Philippine Sea not an option – Justice Carpio

By KIMBERLIE NGABIT-QUITASOL
www.nordis.net

BAGUIO CITY — Justice Antonio Carpio said going to war with China over the disputed West Philippine Sea is not a sound option. He reiterated his suggestion to declare the disputed area as an International marine peace park.

ASSERTING SOVEREIGNTY. Acting Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Antonio Carpio discussed the West Philippine Sea issue in a forum organized by the Regional Ecumenical Council in the Cordillera on August 25 at the UCCP West Side Burnham, Baguio City. Photo by Ramon Balan-eg

Carpio spoke before hundreds of church workers, students, professionals among others in a forum at the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) church in Burnham Park lst week.

Carpio stressed that the Philippine Constitution prohibits war as an instrument of national policy. He added that the United Nations Charter, where the Philippines is a member, has outlawed war as a means of settling disputes between states.

Moreover, he said that prior to a declaration of war, it must get a two-thirds vote from congress and senate, with both houses voting separately. He pointed out that not a single congressman or senator has advocated going to war with China to enforce the tribunal ruling.

Carpio said that ‘Talk with China or go to war with China’ are not the only options as he reiterates his suggestion to declaration of the disputed West Philippine Sea as an International Marine Peace Park as a “win-win” solution. He cited the 1994 peace agreement between Israel and Jordan in the Middle East where they created the Red Sea Marine Peace Park in the Gulf of Aqaba in the Red Sea.

Carpio said that proclaiming the territory as an International Marine Peace Park will ensure that the Spratlys will remain the South China Sea’s nursery where fish spawn.

“The eggs and larvae of fish that spawn in the Spratlys are carried away by the currents to the coasts of China, Vietnam, Luzon, Palawan, Malaysia, Brunei, Natuna Islands, as well as the Sulu Sea,” Carpio said.

Carpio also said that the real and practical solution is to talk with China while taking measures to fortify the arbitral ruling.

“We should talk with China on the Code of Conduct, on the application of the Code of Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES), not only for naval but also for coast guard vessels, on conservation of fish stocks, on preservation of the marine environment, on how our fishermen can fish in Scarborough Shoal and on safety at sea,” he said.

Carpio said that in case that China shows signs of reclaiming Scarborough Shoal, the Philippines can file a new case before the international tribunal to stop the move to any reclamation in the area will destroy the traditional fishing ground common to fishermen from the Philippines, Vietnam, and China. #nordis.net

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