IBP wants to confer with fisherfolk over Writ of Kalikasan withdrawal

Published July 12, 2019, 6:56 PM

by Rica Arevalo

By Jeffrey Damicog

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) wants to confer with fisherfolk, who first sought before the Supreme Court (SC) an environmental protection order over areas in the West Philippine Sea (WPS), only for them to withdraw this later.

Integrated Bar of the Philippines logo (MANILA BULLETIN)
Integrated Bar of the Philippines logo (MANILA BULLETIN)

Just last Tuesday, Solicitor General Jose Calida disclosed that the parties have agreed to drop the petition, asking for the issuance of a Writ of Kalikasan.

“Considering the new allegations by the Office of the Solicitor General, the handling lawyers will request the Supreme Court for time to confer with fishermen in Zambales in Palawan so that they can more appropriately act on the developments of the case,” said IBP President Domingo Egon Cayosa in a statement.

Filed by the IBP, human rights lawyer Jose Manuel “Chel” Diokno, and a group of fisherfolk from Palawan and Zambales, the petition sought the writ to compel the government to protect Panatag Shoal, Ayungin Shoal and Panganiban Reef from environmental degradation caused by Chinese incursions.

“The Integrated of the Philippines advocates for the enforcement of environmental laws, protection of the rights and welfare of fisherfolks, and securing the territory and patrimony of our country in the West Philippine Sea,” stated Cayosa.

“The IBP stands firmly with the fishermen, IBP Chapters, and the lawyers involved in the petition for a writ of kalikasan filed before the Supreme Court,” he added.

Last Tuesday, the SC held a continuation of the oral arguments over the petition.

During the oral arguments, Calida submitted the affidavits of 19 fishermen who manifested the withdrawal of their signatures and eventually the petition.

The Solicitor General also presented a video interview of the fishermen who detailed their involvement in the filing of the petition.

Monico Abogado and Roberto Asiado, the leaders of the group of fishermen, said in their affidavits that they were “deceived” into signing and filing the petition before the SC.