No need to invite China,PHL should bring case to UN

Scarborough shoal at low tide by Adel Rosario from Wikipedia

Del Rosario

Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario is in New York now.

The Department of Foreign Affairs yesterday released his statement saying,” In pursuing a peaceful settlement of the Scarborough Shoal issue, we fully intend to humbly invite our Chinese friends to join us in the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea (ITLOS).”

ITLOS was established to adjudicate conflict over the interpretation and implementation of the United Nations Convention of the Law which defines the rights and responsibilities of nations in their use of the world’s oceans.

Del Rosario said, “The purpose of the exercise will be to ascertain which of us has sovereign rights over the waters surrounding Scarborough Shoal where Chinese ships are currently engaging in illegal activities within the Philippine Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). “

We are not sure if the Philippines will go ahead with bringing to ITLOS the issue of Scarborough Shoal even if China spurns its invitation, which we expect would happen. China, opted out of compulsory arbitration provided in UNCLOS.

But lawyer Harry Roque, who teaches public international law at the University of the Philippines, said it does not need the agreement of China for the issue on Scarborough Shoal, which is 124 nautical miles (therefore within the Philippines’ 200 NM exclusive economic zone) from Zambales, to be brought to the ITLOS because it involves the country’s sovereign rights.


Roque, in his article in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, differentiated the Spratlys issue from the Scarborough Shoal case. He said: “Scarborough Shoal is separate and distinct from the dispute over the disputed Spratly islands in the West Philippine Sea. This is because Scarborough Shoal presents issues that are less insurmountable than those arising from the dispute in the Spratlys.

“The difference between Scarborough Shoal and the Spratlys is both physical and legal. As a shoal, Scarborough does not involve conflicting claims to land territory. Accordingly, the Philippine claim to it may be resolved wholly on the basis of the United Nations’ Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos). And without a doubt, the Philippine claim to the area is superior because it falls within its 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone. This gives us the exclusive right to explore and exploit the living resources in these waters. The Spratlys, on the other hand, and this is contrary to repeated declarations by the Department of Foreign Affairs, cannot be resolved wholly through the Unclos. The reason is obvious: The Unclos only deals with the sea and cannot be applied to disputed islands.

“The point is: With the incursion of China in an undisputed maritime area under the sovereign right of the Philippines, we could avail ourselves of the mandatory and compulsory jurisdiction of the UN Tribunal of the Law of the Sea, which we could not otherwise resort to in the case of the Spratlys. This is because unlike issues involving the exercise of sovereign rights, which are subject to the compulsory jurisdiction of the tribunal, conflicting claims to both maritime and land territory will require the consent of China to litigate.”

The Philippines should also push its long-discussed plan to bring to the UN the issue of China’s ridiculous nine-dash line map which covers the whole of South China Sea and encroaches on the territory of a number of countries in Asia.

Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio, in his speech at the Ateneo de Davao University October last year,Carpio urged the government not to waste any more time to bring the issue to the international court.

He said, “First, a state that opts out of the UNCLOS compulsory dispute settlement mechanism is still subject to compulsory conciliation under UNCLOS. While the decision of an UNCLOS conciliation commission is not binding on the parties, its ruling is nevertheless persuasive. If the conciliation commission concludes that China’s 9-dashed line map has no basis in international law, then that is practically the end of China’s claim to 90% of the South China Sea. World opinion will turn strongly against China if it insists on its 9-dashed line map. The South China Sea is the second busiest international sea-lane in the world. More than one-half of the world’s merchant fleet by tonnage passes through the South China Sea every year. More than 80% of the crude oil for Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan passes through the South China Sea. The entire world has an important stake in the South China Sea. A country like China that depends on international trade for its growth and prosperity cannot simply ignore world opinion. As events in the break-up of Yugoslavia and the upheavals of the Arab Spring have shown, world opinion has become the defining moral force behind the Rule of Law.


“Second, UNCLOS allows states to opt out of compulsory arbitration only with respect to the delimitation of overlapping maritime zones or issues involving historic bays or titles forming part of internal waters. The validity of China’s 9-dashed line map is an issue that is independent of maritime delimitation because it also affects fishing, scientific research and freedom of navigation in the South China Sea. No historic bay or title is involved because China obviously cannot claim the South China Sea as its internal waters.

“Also, whether the geographic features in the Spratlys Islands Group in the West Philippine Sea are rocks or islands entitled to maritime zones is an issue not subject to the opt out clause as this issue does not involve the delimitation of maritime boundaries. Once the maritime status of these rocks and islands are defined, as distinguished from their sovereignty status, the extent of the disputed area in the South China Sea will also be defined and narrowed. If none of the islands generate their own EEZs, then there will be no overlapping EEZs between China and the Philippines in the Spratlys Islands Group. If some islands generate their own EEZs, then the dispute will be narrowed to those overlapping EEZs, freeing the rest of the South China Sea from any dispute.

“Thus, some international law scholars have suggested that opposing claimant states should subject the validity of China’s 9-dashed line map, as well as the maritime status of the rocks and islands in the South China Sea, to compulsory arbitration under UNCLOS.

“In this crucial battle to secure our EEZ under UNCLOS, the Philippines can never lose to China, unless the Philippines commits an irremediable blunder like bringing the battle outside of UNCLOS. We must bring the battle to an UNCLOS tribunal for resolution of the dispute under UNCLOS. Our right to our EEZ in the South China Sea is guaranteed under UNCLOS. UNCLOS will lose its reason for existence if it fails to secure for the Philippines its EEZ. If the Philippines brings the battle outside of UNCLOS, it can never expect to win over China, whether militarily or diplomatically.”

Philippine leadership is aware of that reality. Del Rosario said,”The whole world knows that China has myriad more ships and aircraft than the Philippiness. At day’s end, however, we hope to demonstrate that international law would be the great equalizer.”

April 17, 2012 11:13 pm  Tags: ,   Posted in: Foreign Affairs, South China Sea

329 Responses

  1. manuelbuencamino - April 17, 2012 11:46 pm

    Yes, but who will enforce the decision of UNCLOS if China refuses to accept it?

  2. Jojo - April 18, 2012 2:11 am

    Maganda ang tanong mo #1,,,,,,alam mo kung bakit malakas ang loob ng mga singkit na yan. Kasi si Pnoy kung bakit hinalukay pa nya ang kanyang ninuno sa bansang China. Kaya alam ng mga singkit na kadugo nila ang Pres. ng Pinas. Katabi lang ng Pinas ang Shoal nahuli na ang mga iligal na singkit na kumuha pa ng yamang dagat ng Pinas pero si Pnoy mismo ang nagsabi na para hindi lumaki ang gulo ay pinabayaan na lang na umalis. Takot ba siya sa gulo. HINDI,,,,kasi kadugo niya ang mga singkit.

  3. patria adorada - April 18, 2012 4:41 am

    action!!!!bring it to international court asap!!!

  4. dan1067 - April 18, 2012 10:45 am

    Comes to worst if China refuses to vacate the shoal despite UN intervention favoring the Philippines just in case, is there a possibility for international embargo or sanctions against them? Or maybe doing some like UN-lead Afghanistan war? I don’t think so! In my assumption the authorities will have to say, ” Back to negotiating table”. What next is a freezing & endless case!

  5. Golberg - April 18, 2012 12:16 pm

    Naglalaway ang mga beho diyan. Malangis, ganda negosyo yan. Dami pela. Pag dami pela dami pang gawa ng armas.

  6. chi - April 18, 2012 7:15 pm

    The right thing to do sending bully China the message that Pinas is a-tapang din kahit nanginginig sa takot.

    I like DFA Sec Albert del Rosario, madaling magdesisyon ng diplomatic action.

  7. chi - April 18, 2012 7:26 pm

    Of course hindi kelanman mananalo ang Pinas againt China kung gera and usapan, laway lang nila malulunod na tayo. Pero ang pagdala ng isyu sa ITLOS ay kakabugin din sila lalo at alam nila na ang Scarborough Shoal ay nasa mapa ng Pinas simula pa.

    With this issue officially brought into the international arena, China will not just send us a bomb. Walang kakampi sa kanya kundi ang puro porma ding si Kim Jung-on na hindi pa pinapatulan ni uncle Sam.

  8. manuelbuencamino - April 18, 2012 10:05 pm

    Yun mapa na pinapakita ng China gawa-gawa lang pala ni Fu Manchu!

  9. chi - April 18, 2012 10:38 pm

    mb, yan na nga e, hahaha! Kaya takot din ang Tsina sa international arbitration, talo sila.

  10. Jojo - April 19, 2012 1:18 am

    No,,,,hindi si Fu Manchu ang may gawa ng mapa,,,,,,si Yun-Fat Chow,,,,with the supervision of Mira Sorvino.

  11. Ellen - April 19, 2012 8:28 am

    Re#1, MB, one step at a time. How the UN decision would be enforced could be taken up later. What is important is we put China in a defensive in the international arena.

  12. Ellen - April 19, 2012 9:21 am

    From Peter Castro:

    Totoo po na tuso talaga itong China. Kung kayat maiparating po sana ninyo sa ating pamahalaan na pag isipang mabuti ang pagbabalik bitay lalo na po sa mga heinous crimes tulad ng pagpapakalat ng droga o shabu.

    Sa totoo po lang eh kaya masyado ng marami ang droga sa Pilipinas ay dahil sa mga Intsik na ito na walang sawa sa pagtatayo ng laboratoryo dito sa ating bansa.

    Kung bitay o parusang kamatayan ang ibibigay sa mga Intsik na ito ay nakasisiguro tayo na hindi na mauulit ang mga pagtatayong ito, pero dapat din nating tingnan yung mga pinoy na tatanggap ng suhol upang makaalpas sa bitay itong mga intsik na mahuhuli. Nararapata na bitay din ang parusa sa mga pinoy na makikiisa sa pagtakas ng mga intsik na ito.

    Ito ang isa sa mga batas batas na dapat iprayoridad ng mga mambabatas.

    Ibalik ang bitay upang matigil ang pagtatayo ng laboratoryo ng shabu na kagagawan ng mga intsik na galing China.

  13. dan1067 - April 19, 2012 5:34 pm

    Ang isang bansang maunlad ay hindi lamang sa ganda ng ekonomya nakikita kundi mas higit sa kalayaan at katahimikan ng mamamayan nito. Kung ang bansa natin ay pinamumugaran na ng kasamaan na nagbibigay takot at pag aalala sa ating mga mahal sa buhay dulot ng droga na dala rito ng mga intsik, marapat lamang na ibalik na ang parusang bitay at unahin ang mga pesteng chekwang ito kasama ng mga pilipinong kasabwat.

  14. TonGuE-tWisTeD - April 19, 2012 6:16 pm

    Sa wakas, meron palang mas matibay na dahilan kung bakit ang Scarborough Shoal o Bajo de Masinloc ay sumasailalim sa hurisdiksyon ng bayan ng Masinloc sa lalawigan ng Zambales.

    Yun nga lang, di ko maintindihan. hehehe.

  15. chi - April 19, 2012 7:54 pm

    Tongue, twice I read the link, hindi ko rin naintindihan. Kelangan ko yata si Sen. Trillanes para explain ito sa madlang pipol.

  16. dan1067 - April 19, 2012 11:27 pm

    Pakibasa ang blog ni Ducky ParKahit papaano ko isipin, wala akong nakikitang maaasahan nating bansa na tutulong sa atin kung sakaling giyerahin tayo ng Tsina!

    Maaari itong mangyari sapagkat ang Tsina ay tuluyang magpipilit na merong mga parte ng Pinas na kanilang ina­angkin, gaya ng Scarborough Shoal at Spratlys. Parang mga bato lamang ang mga ito sa dagat ngunit mara­ming isda, langis at gas sa mga lugar na ito.

    Ayon sa mga Intsik, meron silang mga mapa na ginawa pa ilang daang taon na ang nakakalipas at maliwanag sa mga mapang ito na ang mga lugar na kanilang inaangkin ay parte na ng Tsina bago pa dumating dito si Magellan at ang mga Kastila.

    Ngunit, meron namang ginawang reglamento ang United Nations na napirmahan ng halos lahat na bansa sa mundo kung saan kinikilala ng mga bansa sa mundo ang 200-mile limit kung saan 200 milya mula sa gilid ng lupain ng isang bansa ay tinuturing na karagatan pa rin ng naturang bansa.

    Kung ito ang gagamitin, tiyak na ang mga lupain na inaangkin ng Tsina ay hindi kanila kundi pag-aari ng Pinas. Ngunit, nagpipilit ang Tsina at sa totoo lamang kung gigiyerahin tayo ng Tsina’y wala tayong kalaban-laban.

    Noong pinalayas ng ating Senado ang mga base militar ng US sa Pinas, para tayong naging subdibisyon na nawalan ng mga guwardya. Sa totoo lamang, noong naririto ang US Mi­litary bases, walang kahit na anumang matapang na bansa ang papasok sa ating bansa na walang pahintulot.

    Kaya nila sinusunod ang ating soberanya ay dahil sa meron tayong kakamping mga sundalong Amerikano na dinedepensahan ang Pilipinas.

    Sa ngayon maraming mga nagdedemo laban sa mga Amerikano. Nagtataka tuloy ako kung ‘di kaya baka mga kakampi ng Tsina ang mga ito. Bakit nga ba galit na galit sila sa Kano ganoong wala namang ibang bansa tayong maaasahan kung mapasubo tayo at giyerahin tayo ng mga Intsik!

    Sa totoo, kapag nilusob tayo ng mga Intsik, baka sa unang araw pa lamang ay talo na tayo. Wala na tayong mga eroplano’t barko sapagka’t sa dami ng kalaban, tiyak na baka hindi man lamang makalipad ang mga eroplano at ang mga barko nama’y maagang palulubugin ng mga bomba, at missile rocket ng kalaban.

    Kahit na sa hand-to-hand fighting, sa dami ng mga Intsik, hindi ko alam kung saan tayo pupulutin. Kahit na matatapang ang ating mga sundalo, tiyak na sa dami ng mga kalaban ay ka­yang-kaya nila tayong pasukuin.

    Mas matitindi rin ang kanilang mga armas at mas marami ang mga bomba, bala, kanyon, missile at kung anu-ano pang kakailanganin upang talunin ang ating militar sa barilan at patayan.

    Mabuti na lang na naririyan ang ating mga kinakapatid na mga Amerikano!



  17. TonGuE-tWisTeD - April 20, 2012 2:43 am

    Masyado ka namang negatibo, dan1067. Nandiyan naman sina Rey Malonzo, Lito Lapid, at Bong Revilla kaya di ka dapat matakot. Kung pumatay nga sila ng mga Hapon bata-batalyon walang kasugat-sugat di pa nauubusan ng bala!

  18. TonGuE-tWisTeD - April 20, 2012 2:51 am

    Aba e magsimula na kayong gumayak, Rey, Lito at Bong dahil nagpadala na ng Gunboat ang China sa Scarborough Shoal.

  19. Ellen - April 20, 2012 6:15 am


  20. dan1067 - April 20, 2012 12:22 pm

    Hahaha ellen pasensiya na galing yan sa deretsahan ni ka Ducky. Sasama din daw gyera si Jess Lapid, at Falcon he he!

  21. MPRivera - April 21, 2012 6:14 pm

    kayo nga ay tumigil na sa inyong pagbibiro nang ganyan, hane?

    alalahanin ninyong hindi biro kung gyerahin tayo ng mga intsik na sa dami nila, katulad nang sabi ni chi sa laway pa lang lunod na tayo kapag sabay sabay silang dumura.

    kung sabagay at pabor din ako na isabak ang mga nabanggit sa itaas dahil sa pelikula nila ay napakagagaling nilang makipaglaban at naniniwala akong kayang kaya nilang talunin kahit ano’ng dami ng kalaban kahit pa ‘yang mga intsik kapag hindi nila nilubayan ang pang-aangkin ng mga sakop ng ating teritoryo.

    ang tanong nga la’ang – payagan kaya sila ng kanilang kanilang mga asawas na sumabak sa giyera kahit hindi pa tapos ang labada?

    baka naman matapang la’ang sila sa pelikula pero sa tunay na buhay ay mga miyembro sila ng pederasyong SANSUWI?

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