Palace rejects Carpio's non-war proposals to insist on arbitral ruling with China
Malacanang turned down on Monday the proposal of Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio on how the Philippines could enforce the arbitral ruling on the South China Sea territorial disputes without going to war with China.
In a press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said President Rodrigo Duterte has actually taken "non-war" tact, which is through negotiations with China.
"As of now, the President, his option is the best; and that is negotiation, diplomatic negotiations. It's the best option because you're talking directly to your supposed enemy," he said.
Panelo said the mere fact Duterte did not want to confront China about the arbitral ruling was his way of preventing war from happening.
He said that even before Duterte assumed office, he considered the options which Carpio has laid down.
It could be recalled, however, that when Duterte was campaigning for the presidency, he said he would ride in a jet ski and plant the Philippine flag at Scarborough or Panatag Shoal in the West Philippine Sea.
But when Duterte assumed office, he decided to put on the back burner the ruling of the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration invalidating China's historic and sovereign rights over the South China Sea through its nine-dash line.
He decided to take a softer stance in exchange of loans and other assistance from China, while the latter was busy occupying the Philippine-claimed areas in the disputed waters through the construction of artificial islands.
Carpio proposed some non-war options for Duterte to insist on the arbitral ruling after the President challenged his critics to come up with proposals on how to address the matter without resorting to armed conflict.
The magistrate came out with six options, such as for the other claimant southeast Asian countries - Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei, along with the Philippines - to enter into a Convention, declaring that, as ruled by the arbitral tribunal, no geologic feature in the Spratlys generates an exclusive economic zone and there are only territorial seas from the geologic features that are above water at high-tide;
For the Philippines to file an extended continental shelf claim in the West Philippine Sea beyond its 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone off the coast of Luzon, where China is the only opposite coastal state;
For the Philippines to send on patrol its 10 new 44-meter multi-role response vessels funded by Japan for the use of the Philippine Coast Guard;
For the Philippines to welcome and encourage freedom of navigation and overflight operations of the United States, United Kingdom, France, Australia, Japan, India and Canada in the South China Sea;
For the Philippine to send its own Navy to join in the freedom of navigation and overflight operations of the foreign naval powers to assert, on behalf of the Philippines, that there is an EEZ in the West Philippine Sea belonging to the Philippines as ruled by the PCA; and
For the Philippine government to support private sector initiatives to enforce the arbitral award. Celerina Monte/DMS