MANILA, Apr 24 (Mabuhay) – Using maps and historical records, Supreme Court (SC) Justice Antonio Carpio discussed in detail evidence that bolsters the Philippines’ territorial claim in the South China Sea against China.
The case is filed before the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
Carpio produced a 1734 map that shows the Kalayaan Island group is part of Philippine territory.
Carpio, likewise, produced a Chinese book that says the Chinese planted a marker dated 1911 on one of the disputed islands in 1937.
Although Carpio is convinced the Philippines will win its case before the arbitration panel, he believes China will never recognize the ruling.
In fact, he said, the Chinese is about to build a military base in Kagitingan Reef where reclamation work continues.
But the justice said the Philippines should not rely on the US military assistance despite the Mutual Defense Treaty between the two countries.
Instead, Carpio said the Philippines should beef up its own defense capabilities.
“The US already said, ‘We don’t take sides.’ So what do we do? It’s very clear, it’s up to us now. Our problem now is we don’t even have a ship to bring them there, we don’t have jetplanes to defend them, because we have not acquired and maintained a credible self-defense force which is the number one obligation of a state if it wants to remain sovereign and independent,” he said.
China’s reclamation work in the South China Sea also threatens the Philippine economy.
Carpio said at least 40 percent of the country’s sea produce comes from that area.
The Malampaya operation, which supplies 40 percent of the country’s energy, will also be affected.
“This is about food resources, energy resources, security issue, our economic zone will be taken away from us, then what is left for us for the next generation of Philippines?” Carpio said. (MNS)