- Malacañang Palace identified two potential areas for joint exploration with China
- Roque said in these areas, there is no need for China to recognize PH sovereign rights over it
- This is in contrast with the opinion of Associate Justice Antonio Carpio
MANILA, Philippines – The Malacañang Palace has disputed Associate Justice Antonio Carpio’s opinion on the need for China to recognize first the Philippines’ sovereign rights over some areas in the West Philippine Sea before entertaining any plan of a joint exploration.
This comes as Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque identified two potential areas for joint exploration with Beijing – the Service Contracts 57 (Calamian) and 72 (Recto Bank).
Roque said Malacañang does not agree with Carpio’s ‘personal opinion’; noting that the Supreme Court actually allows foreign countries to take part in exploration and exploitation as cited in La Bugal Case.
He explained the case, pointed out the country can share what is exclusive to it, for as long as it is acceded to by the Philippines, it being a sovereign nation.
“What would have been illegal is if we don’t consent and a third state goes ahead and explores and exploits, that would be violation of our EEZ. But if you consent, who is to complain, but if the state itself consents to it,” Roque said.
Way of compromise
Roque further explained in the case of 72 (Recto Bank), there is no need for China to recognize the Philippines’s sovereign rights over it.
“Kasi nga po itong joint exploration ay by way of compromise na huwag na nating pag-awayan muna iyong issue kung sino ang mayroong sovereign rights diyan, makinabang na muna tayo,” said Roque.
[This is because the joint exploration is by way of compromise to set aside our conflict over the issue of sovereign rights, let’s just explore and benefit from it.]
“At sa akin ang sinasabi ko lang po, walang mali diyan dahil tayo naman, dahil mayroon tayong exclusive na karapatan na kumalap ng tanging yaman diyan, pupuwede tayong pumayag na magkaroon ng joint exploration kasama ang mga dayuhan, desisyon po iyan ng isang soberenyang bayan,” he added.
[What I’m saying is there is nothing wrong with it and since we still have the exclusive rights to explore it, we can also allow to have a joint exploration with foreigners, that is the decision of a sovereign nation.]