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Idaan sa paspasan! Fishermen ask SC: Compel gov’t to enforce environmental laws over West PH Sea

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The Supreme Court (SC) has been asked protect the West Philippine Sea from further environmental destruction due to continued Chinese incursions.

This was sought in a petition filed Tuesday (April 16) by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and fisherfolk from Palawan and Zambales which asked the SC to issue a Writ of Kalikasan over the West Philippine Sea.

“The Petitioners pray that the Supreme Court issue a Writ of Kalikasan directing the Philippine government to enforce Philippine environmental laws, including fisheries laws, in the relevant areas of the West Philippine Sea,” said IBP President Abdiel Dan Elijah Fajardo in a statement.

”The petition insists that Philippine environmental laws are required to be enforced in Ayungin Shoal, Panganiban Reef, and Panatag Shoal. These areas form part of the Philippine Exclusive Economic Zone, or Philippine waters over which the Philippines has sovereignty or jurisdiction,” he explained.

Among those named as respondents in the petition are Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, Agriculture Secretary Manuel Pinol, and Philippine Coast Guard Admiral Elson Hermogino.

Fajardo cited that the petition is anchored from the evidence submitted by the Philippines in the South China Sea arbitration case.

“The Philippines won the arbitration on 12 July 2016, but the Philippine government has failed or refuses to enforce the ruling in a manner that is beneficial to Filipinos, particularly our fisherfolk,” he lamented.

”The arbitral tribunal categorically found that the artificial island building activities of the Chinese in the West Philippine Sea have led to severe environmental damage. The Philippine government submitted several pieces of evidence to support its claim, and the same pieces of evidence will be brought before the Supreme Court,” he said.

Fajardo cited that foreign poachers and foreign construction and land reclamation entities have caused massive environmental damage in Philippine waters and the Philippine exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

“They destroyed coral reefs, harvested endangered species including giant clams, engaged in illegal fishing, and built artificial islands,” he said.

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