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Palace: Enforcement of PH’s right to EEZ ‘courting dangers’

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By Prince Golez

Malacanang has warned of dangers should the Philippines assert its sovereignty over the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

Section 2, Article XII of the 1987 Constitution 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.”

In an interview over ANC Monday, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said, “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?”

President Rodrigo Duterte had downplayed the constitutional provision, saying it was “for the thoughtless and the senseless.” Invoking the Constitution could trigger war with China, added the Chief Executive.

It is only through bilateral negotiations that the territorial and maritime disputes in the West Philippine Sea will be peacefully resolved, according to Panelo.

“You cannot enforce it, except by way of force, which we cannot do, nor either countries would want to help us,” the chief presidential legal counsel said.

“Our solution is to negotiate, to be friendly with them. Things that we can get out of this arbitral ruling, we may be able to get through negotiations; and that is what we have been doing,” he added.

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