Robredo: “Exclusive” in Philippine’s EEZ is clear in Charter
MANILA, Philippines—The word “exclusive” referring to the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) is in the Constitution for a reason, according to Vice President Leni Robredo.
At an interview with GMA-7’s morning program “Unang Hirit”, Robredo said Section 7 of Article XII in the Charter was clear about resources within the Philippines’ EEZ being exclusively for the benefit of Filipinos.
“Just by the term alone, it’s called exclusive economic zone in the 1987 Constitution, the law is very specific on its provision about exclusive economic zone which is for the exclusive use and enjoyment of Filipino citizens,” Robredo said.
Without directly saying it, the Vice President also raised the possible violation by President Rodrigo Duterte of the Constitution when he said China could freely fish or exploit marine resources inside the Philippines’ EEZ because the two countries are “friends.”
“If you allow other nationalities, not Filipinos, to fish there, that’s against the Constitution,” she said.
The Duterte administration’s pivot to China and its policy of nonconfrontation with the Asian giant has been criticized again following the ramming by a Chinese vessel of a Filipino fishing boat at Recto Bank with the Chinese ship leaving Filipino fishermen fighting for their lives after the ramming.
Duterte recently drew criticisms for saying that the case was a just “little maritime accident” not worth raising a howl about.
Former Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario had said Duterte may be impeached for not following the Constitution.
Robredo, who had talked with the Recto Bank fishermen, said Filipino fishermen want the Duterte administration to assert the EEZ as bigger and more modern Chinese fishing vessels deprive Filipinos of a food catch.
“In fact, that’s the appeal pf the fishermen that they be able to recover in their livelihood because they are at a disadvantage,” the Vice President said.
“They cannot compete with the Chinese vessels, they are losing their catch,” she said.
“But our Constitution is very specific that that’s exclusive for the use and enjoyment of Filipino citizens,” Robredo added. (Editor: Tony Bergonia)
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