Filipinos to Expect Victory Against China Over West Philippine Sea Dispute

Filipinos to Expect Victory Against China Over West Philippine Sea Dispute

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“It is about defending what is legitimately ours. It is about securing our children’s future,” said former Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario on July 12 as citizens of the Philippines expect to be victorious in a historic case over the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) against China.

The arbitral tribunal’s ruling on the said case is being set to be announced at 5:00 PM on Tuesday, Philippine time, by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, Netherlands.

To be won in this historic case is the right to fish and also to be able to explore and exploit oil and other resources in the undisputed West Philippine Sea.

The exclusive economic zone (EEZ) is the core issue involved for the Philippines. It is the area 200 nautical miles from a coastal state’s baselines, with which the state has the exclusive rights to explore and utilize marine resources within the EEZ. Called the “Constitution for the Oceans” by experts, this rule on the EEZ is preserved in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

On the other hand, China has its so-called 9-dash line which is a U-shaped line covering practically the whole West Philippine Sea, overlapping the Philippines’ EEZ.

However, the Philippines claims that the said 9-dash line is baseless under UNCLOS. Thus, urging the tribunal in The Hague to nullify it.

As said by Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio of the Philippine Supreme Court, “The issue here is whether the Philippines will keep 80% of its exclusive economic zone in the South China Sea, or we lose it to China,” and that, “If we lose 80% of our EEZ in the South China Sea, that means we lose 80% of the fish we catch annually in the South China Sea.”

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