SC issues writ of kalikasan to protect contested WPS fishing grounds
MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court (SC) on Friday issued a writ of kalikasan to protect, preserve, rehabilitate and restore the marine environment in the Scarborough Shoal (Panatag Shoal), Ayungin Shoal and Panganiban Reef (Mischief Reef) in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).
During Friday’s special en banc session, the high court granted the prayer for the issuance of a writ of kalikasan filed by members of the Kalayaan Palawan Farmers and Fisherfolk Association.
A writ of kalikasan is a legal remedy that provides protection of one’s Constitutional right to a healthy environment, as outlined under the 1987 Constitution.
The petitioners are from fishermen’s communities in Palawan and Zambales.
The merits of the petition, however, are is still up for deliberations.
The petition was filed last month following a video footage showing Chinese vessels harvesting giant clams in Scarborough Shoal.
The fishermen asked the high court to compel the government to enforce environmental laws to protect, rehabilitate and prevent further environmental damage in the resource-rich reefs and shoals in the West Philippine Sea which are being claimed by China.
Among the environmental laws cited are the Fisheries Code and several environmental issuances.
The Department of Agriculture (DA), Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), Philippine Navy, Philippine Coast Guard, Philippine National Police (PNP), and its maritime group are mandated to enforce this law. /gsg
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