Carpio: EEZ provision in Charter not senseless as Duterte sees it
MANILA, Philippines—Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio on Saturday (June 29) underscored the importance of a provision in the Constitution setting the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ), disputing President Rodrigo Duterte’s statement that the exclusivity provision was “thoughtless and senseless.”
Citing the Constitution, Carpio said that the use and benefits of marine resources in the EEZ were exclusively for Filipinos and such resources “cannot be shared with, or given away, to foreign nationals.”
“This exclusivity is not a ‘thoughtless and senseless’ provision in our Constitution as President Rodrigo Duterte has unfortunately characterized,” Carpio said at the recognition day of the College of Social Sciences and Philosophy at the University of the Philippines – Diliman.
Duterte earlier described as a “provision for the thoughtless and the senseles” Section 2, Article XII of the Constitution.
It states that “the State shall protect the nation’s marine wealth in its archipelagic waters, territorial sea, and exclusive economic zone, and reserve its use and enjoyment exclusively to Filipino citizens”
Carpio added that the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea or Unclos, which was also signed by China, “reserved the use and enjoyment of all the natural resources in all the EEZs of the world exclusively to the respective adjacent coastal states.”
“The framers of our Constitution have incorporated this exclusivity in our Constitution.,” said Carpio.
“Even the small minority of states that have not ratified Unclos, like the United States of America, have adopted this exclusivity,” he said.
“International tribunals have declared this exclusivity as part of customary international law – which means it is the governing law for all states of the world,” he added.
Carpio said the EEZ provision in the Constitution was meant to prevent the pillage of natural resources by foreigners so that future generations of Filipinos could also benefit from these.
“It is the duty of this present generation of Filipinos to protect this marine wealth, and hand it over to the next generation of Filipinos, who will also protect it for the next generation of Filipinos after them,” Carpio said.
“This is the intergenerational duty of every generation of Filipinos in protecting our territorial integrity,” Carpio added.
“If we fail to protect our territorial integrity in the West Philippine Sea and lose it to China, we will lose our Exclusive Economic Zone in the West Philippine Sea forever,” Carpio continued.
“There is no recovery once we lose this huge maritime area to China,” Carpio added.
Concluding his speech, Carpio said unlike personal integrity, territorial integrity cannot be recovered if it was lost.
“If we lose our personal integrity there is still a chance of recovering our personal integrity, no matter how long and difficult it may be “ the Supreme Court justice said.
“But if we lose our territorial integrity, there can be no recovery unless we defeat a nuclear armed China in a war, which is of course impossible,” he said.
Again countering Duterte, Carpio said the Philippines’ recourse was not limited to going to war but keeping faith in and insisting on the rule of law.
“We should therefore continue resorting to the rule of law in protecting our territorial integrity in the West Philippine Sea,” Carpio said.
“We must use the rule of law wisely and creatively, exploring and pushing the limits of international law to maintain our territorial integrity,” he added. (Editor: Tony Bergonia)
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