SC justice floats 5-point plan to deal with China
A SUPREME Court magistrate has laid down a five-point strategy to handle China’s renewed incursion into the Scarborough Shoal, including the filing of a formal protest against China’s plan to install a radar station on it.
Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said Monday President Rodrigo Duterte had the constitutional duty to defend Scarborough Shoal from China’s incursions.
He pushed his five-point strategy following reports that China planned to install a radar station in the disputed shoal.
He said Scarborough or Panatag Shoal was part of the national territory under Republic Act 9522 or the Philippine Baselines Law, and should be defended to “preserve for future generations of Filipinos their national patrimony in the West Philippine Sea.”
Carpio said since the Philippines could not match China’s military power, Duterte might opt for other actions to defend the country’s sovereignty over the shoal and fulfill his duty.
He suggested the filing of a formal protest over China’s incursions in Panatag Shoal.
“This is what the Vietnamese did recently when China sent cruise tours to the disputed Parcels,” Carpio said.
The government could also send the Philippine Navy to patrol the shoal, he said.
“If the Chinese attack Philippine Navy vessels, then invoke the Philippine-US Mutual Defense Treaty which covers any armed attack on Philippine Navy vessels operating in the South China Sea,” Carpio said.
He said the government may ask the US to declare the shoal as part of Philippine territory and accept the standing US offer to hold joint patrols in the South China Sea for that purpose.
He advised Duterte to “avoid any act, statement or declaration that expressly or impliedly waives Philippine sovereignty to any Philippine territory in the West Philippine Sea.”
Carpio earlier warned that the installation of a radar in Panatag Shoal would complete China’s air defense identification zone in the South China Sea.
He made the statement after Duterte said China could not be stopped from building a radar station in the shoal.
China seized the Panatag Shoal in 2012 after a tense standoff with Filipino vessels. China has been denying Filipino fishermen access to the shoal’s rich fishing stock.