told: China’s claims over West Philippine Sea deprives PH of fishing rights
MANILA, Nov. 27 -- The Philippines discussed its deprivation of fishing
and exploration rights during the second day of hearings on its case against
China at the Arbitral Tribunal at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The
"The thrust of the Philippines' arguments today centered on the deprivation
of the fishing and exploration rights due to China's aggressive assertion of
exclusive rights over areas covered by the Nine-Dash Line," Deputy
Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a bulletin issued from The
Hague on Thursday.
According to Valte, Andrew Loewenstein said none of the three conditions to
establish historic rights are present in China's case, making its claim
"hopeless and indefensible."
The Palace official said Professor Philippe Sands argued that Mischief Reef,
Second Thomas Shoal, Subi Reef, Mckennan Reef and Gaven Reef are all
low-tide elevations under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the
Sea (UNCLOS) and as such, are not entitled to its own territorial sea,
exclusive economic zone (EEZ) or continental shelf.
Sands also presented to the Tribunal the construction activities on these
features done by China, and asserted that these changes cannot be the basis
of additional maritime entitlements, she said.
Valte further said that Lawrence Martin argued that based on the Mandarin,
Spanish and English translations of Article 121, features that are
classified as rocks cannot have maritime entitlements despite China's
"Martin also stressed that, under UNCLOS, for a feature to be considered an
island, it must be capable of sustaining human habitation and economic
life," she further said.
During the afternoon session, Reichler returned to the floor to prove before
the Tribunal that no civilian settlements were ever established on the
features in the Spratlys and that there can only be one reason why this is
the case, as the features themselves are not capable of sustaining human
habitation, Valte said.
She said Professor Sands discussed China's interference with the
Philippines' exercise of sovereign rights under the UNCLOS with respect to
living and non-living resources in the exclusive economic zone.
Sands gave as examples several incidents involving service contracts given
by the Department of Energy wherein the private companies were prevented
from exploration. In addition, the fishing ban mandated by China's Ministry
of Agriculture covering even areas in the Philippines' EEZ, was also
Martin presented several testimonies of Filipino fishermen to prove China's
interference in the traditional fishing activities of Filipino fishermen
around the South China Sea, particularly in Bajo de Masinloc or Scarborough
Shoal. A map from 1784 was presented to prove that Bajo de Masinloc has
always been part of the Philippines.
Loewenstein closed the afternoon session by presenting satellite images of
installations constructed by China on Mischief Reef, among others. A video
simulation was also shown to the Tribunal to demonstrate how a cutter
suction dredger destroys the seabed and transfers sand to a pre-selected
area. The same machine was used by China in its construction activities.
Loewenstein argued further that by engaging in these activities, China has
violated the sovereign rights of the Philippines with regard to living and
non-living resources in its EEZ and continental shelf, Valte said.
As stated by Sands, China's violations are "flagrant and persistent" and
they continue today, Valte added. (PCOO/PND)