By Kristine Agustin and Antoinette Capuz
Former Supreme Court associate justice Antonio Carpio has urged the government to forcefully assert the arbitral ruling that invalidated China’s massive nine-dash line claim in the West Philippine Sea.
“The non-nuclear armed winning state cannot expect the losing nuclear-armed state to just roll over and comply [with the] issue on the arbitral award. The winning state must be prepared to conduct [a] worldwide public relations campaign,” Carpio said during the 4th International Conference on the South China Sea.
To strongly enforce the ruling to China, Carpio said the Philippines should join Freedom of Navigation Operations by US naval forces and its allies to refute China’s claim that there are no exclusive economic zones of coastal states.
He said the country should likewise conduct joint patrols with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) coastal states and file an Extended Continental shelf claim on the South China Sea to manifest the country’s EEZ.
“There are really many ways to enforce a ruling without the cooperation of China. China doesn’t have to agree because this can be done unilaterally by the coastal states,” Carpio said.
During his final State of the Nation Address, President Rodrigo Duterte said he asserted the arbitral ruling “clearly and with no uncertain terms” at the ASEAN and the United Nations General Assembly even as he admitted the arbitral ruling cannot be enforced.
“What will I do with a document that does not bind China because they are not part of that arbitration? There was no arbitration at all,” Duterte said.
“Do you want war against China? It will be a massacre if I go and fight now. We are not yet a competent and able enemy for the other side,” the commander-in-chief added.
But Carpio said ordinary Filipinos must take part in asserting the arbitral award.
“Our sovereign rights are not for sale [in exchange for] donations from China. Our sovereign rights to our EEZ in the West Philippine Sea belong exclusively to the sovereign Filipino people,” he said.
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