No China ‘co-ownership’ of Philippines marine resources

At Ground Level Mar 23, 2018 at 2:26 pm

Satur OcampoLast week President Duterte announced that his administration was considering China’s offer to jointly explore an undisputed Philippine territory for potential energy deposits. He was referring to an area off Busuanga, Palawan and the Recto Bank in the West Philippine Sea (WPS), within the country’s 370-kilometer exclusive economic zone (EEZ) over which we have sovereign rights.

“Now their (China’s) offer is joint exploration, which is like co-ownership,” Duterte said. “It’s like the two of us would be the owners. I think that’s better than fighting [over Recto Bank, on which China also claims sovereign rights],” he added.

That careless statement stirred a hornet’s nest. Acting Supreme Court Chief Justice Antonio Carpio took Duterte’s “co-ownership” view as tantamount to conceding to China half of the West Philippine Sea. “There is absolutely no way under the Constitution that the Philippine government could give away half of (our) EEZ and make China its co-owner,” he said.

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