Duterte "courting in dangers" if he invokes constitutional provision on EEZ, Palace says
President Rodrigo Duterte would be "courting in dangers"if he would invoke with China the constitutional provision about protecting the marine wealth and resources within th Philippine exclusive economic zone, his spokesman said on Monday.
In an interview by ANC, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, also chief presidential legal counsel, said Duterte, as head of the government, is doing the "prime duty" of protecting and serving the people, which is also enshrined in the Constitution under Section 4, Article II
Section 2, Article XII, on the other hand, provides: The State shall protect the nation’s marine wealth in its archipelagic waters, territorial sea, and exclusive economic zone, and reserve its use and enjoyment exclusively to Filipino citizens.
Some experts have said Duterte should uphold this provision in the wake of his stance apparently allowing Chinese to fish within the country's EEZ to the detriment of Filipino fishermen.
"The President has already responded to that. He says - and I agree to him completely - that that provision, if you enforce that literally then you’re courting in dangers; because precisely China would not want that. In other words, what benefit do you have if you enforce that provision and then losing everything?" Panelo said.
China has been claiming almost the entire South China Sea, including the areas within the EEZ of other countries, such as the Philippines, through its nine-dash line.
This was despite the Hague ruling invalidating China's sovereign and historic claim in almost the whole South China Sea and upholding the Philippine entitlement on its EEZ.
In an earlier interview, Duterte belittled the Constitution, particularly the provision on the protection of the nation's marine wealth and EEZ, saying it was only for the "thoughtless and senseless" Filipinos.
He repeatedly said that during his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in October 2016 when he told his counterpart about digging oil in the Reed Bank, an area within the country's EEZ, he was told that it could create trouble. Celerina Monte/DMS