Prof. Hilbay retorts on government’s call for unity on West Philippine Sea policy
Professor Florin Hilbay imparts a short Constitutional lesson in answer to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque’s appeal to critics “to unite with the Duterte administration on its policy on the West Philippine Sea.” (Access the full Inquirer.Net report at: http://globalnation.inquirer.net/164849/roque-president-will-die-ph-territory)
“DYING” FOR THE WEST PHILIPPINE SEA
· x x x
· 3. The President’s invitation for China to have “co-ownership” with the Philippines in relation to joint development is totally incompatible with dying for one’s territory.
· The Constitution is clear: “the exploration, development, utilisation of natural resources shall be under the full control and supervision of the State.” The decision in Phils. v. China also declared that the Philippines has “no overlapping entitlements” with China in the West Phil. Sea.
· Exclusive economic zone means exactly that: exclusive. Joint development under a co-ownership arrangement is patently illegal.
· 4. The reference to “land territory” in relation to oil and gas is a misrepresentation. Reed Bank is a fully submerged feature, and not land territory. It’s part of the Philippines’ continental shelf, over which we have exclusive rights.
· In life, as in policy, it’s what we do that matters, not simply what we say.
Professor Hilbay was former Solicitor General who led the Philippine team that argued and won the case for the Philippines before the UN Arbitral Tribunal in the Hague in Philippines v. China.