Philippines refuses to file another case, seek damages from China for reefs' destruction in Scarborough
The Philippines will not file another case against China and demand damages over the Chinese fishermen's destruction of coral reefs in Scarborough, saying this will "reverse the diplomatic gains" between the two countries.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry was reacting to the statement of Supreme Court Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio the Duterte administration should demand for economic losses of Filipino fishermen after the Chinese government failed to stop its people from preserving the marine environment in Scarborough Shoal or Panatag Shoal.
"Filing a new case against China will reverse our diplomatic gains, not to mention the cost it entails," he said.
Roque said the Philippines would rather engage China through diplomacy as this could bring to positive results.
"The administration believes in diplomacy and we are a witness to how our friendly consultation and negotiation with China yielded positive results," he said.
Roque cited the existing bilateral consultation mechanism with China, which he claimed has resulted in productive exchange of views on how to boost cooperation on areas which include maritime environmental protection.
"We can therefore discuss the issue of destroyed coral reefs in Scarborough Shoal as this forms part of the area of maritime environmental protection instead of filing a new case," he added.
Roque noted the continuous discussions on environmental issues with China and both countries have expressed commitment of protecting and preserving the environment and to deal strictly with those who do not abide by relevant regulations.
Carpio, who helped in defending the Philippine petition before the United Nations arbitral tribunal questioning China's nine-dash line in the South China Sea, noted that China had violated its obligation under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and protecting and preserving the marine environment.
The arbitration court ruled in favor of the Philippine case declaring China's claim in almost the entire South China Sea through the nine-dash line as invalid.
It also declared that the Scarborough Shoal is a traditional fishing ground for the Filipinos and other nationals. Celerina Monte/DMS