MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte cannot enter into agreements with other nations involving maritime resources, opposition Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan pointed out on Wednesday.
“While the President can enter into agreements involving mineral resources under the last paragraph of Article XII, Section 2 of the Constitution, he cannot do so with respect to marine resources,” Pangilinan said in a statement.
President Duterte earlier said that it was alright to let Chinese fishermen in Philippine waters out of “friendship.”
Pangilinan noted that under Article XII, Section 2 of the Constitution, the President may enter into agreements “with foreign-owned corporations involving either technical or financial assistance for large-scale exploration, development, and utilization of minerals, petroleum, and other mineral oils according to the general terms and conditions provided by law, based on real contributions to the economic growth and general welfare of the country.”
“In such agreements, the State shall promote the development and use of local scientific and technical resources,” it further read.
Pangilinan stressed that Recto Bank, where a Chinese vessel allegedly rammed a Filipino-owned fishing boat and abandoned the 22 distressed fishermen, is part of Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ)
“It is ours,” he said.
“Allowing Chinese or other foreigners to fish there violates our Constitution.”
“The Philippine government has the sacred duty to defend our marine wealth in the EEZ and to ‘reserve its use and enjoyment exclusively to Filipino citizens,’ using the phrase in our Constitution.”
“And we Filipinos are not the only ones saying this, even the international community in the decision of the arbitral tribunal on July 12, 2016 is on our side,” Pangilinan added, referring to the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s ruling on the West Philippine Sea maritime dispute.
“Love the Philippines. Love the Filipinos, especially the fishermen who feed us,” Pangilinan said. (Editor: Gilbert S. Gaviola)
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