PH won’t sue China over dam­aged reefs at Panatag Shoal – Palace

Cebu Daily News - - ISLANDS - /INQUIRER.NET

THE Philip­pines will not file a case against China over the de­stroyed coral reefs at Panatag Shoal, Mala­cañang said on Wed­nes­day, a day after act­ing Chief Jus­tice An­to­nio Car­pio said the govern­ment should seek com­pen­sa­tion from China.

Pres­i­den­tial Spokesper­son Harry Roque said the govern­ment “be­lieves in diplo­macy” and would just raise the is­sue in the bi­lat­eral con­sul­ta­tion mech­a­nism be­tween the Philip­pines and China.

“We are a wit­ness to how our friendly con­sul­ta­tion and ne­go­ti­a­tion with China yielded pos­i­tive re­sults,” Roque said in a state­ment.

“At present, we have an ex­ist­ing bi­lat­eral con­sul­ta­tion mech­a­nism (BCM) with China, which has re­sulted in pro­duc­tive ex­change of views on how to boost co­op­er­a­tion on ar­eas which in­clude mar­itime en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion,” he added.

The BCM al­lows diplo­mats from both coun­tries to meet twice a year. The first BCM this year was held in Manila while the sec­ond one is ex­pected to hap­pen this July.

“We have had con­tin­u­ous dis­cus­sions on envi- ron­men­tal is­sues with China and both coun­tries are com­mit­ted to pro­tect­ing and pre­serv­ing the en­vi­ron­ment and to deal strictly with those who do not abide by rel­e­vant reg- ula­tions,” Roque said.

On Tues­day, Car­pio said the Philip­pines should file an­other case against China in the Per­ma­nent Court of Ar­bi­tra­tion in The Hague over the ad­mis­sion of Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ad­viser Her­mo­genes Esperon Jr. that Chinese fish­er­men have har­vested gi­ant clams and de­stroyed coral reefs at Panatag Shoal.

But Roque said fil­ing a new protest against China would have an im­pact on Manila’s “diplo­matic gains” with Bei­jing.

“Fil­ing a new case against China will re­verse our diplo­matic gains, not to men­tion the cost it en­tails. We can there­fore dis­cuss the is­sue of de­stroyed coral reefs in Scar­bor­ough Shoal as this forms part of the area of mar­itime en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion in­stead of fil­ing a new case,” he said.


A Filipino fish­er­man fixes the engine of his boat as a China Coast Guard ves­sel pa­trols a half mile from the fish­er­man in the Panatag Shoal or Scar­bor­ough Shoal, West Philip­pine Sea.

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