The only thing that retired Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio wants to hear from President Duterte in the last year of his administration is to prohibit China from further fishing in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
“I hope he will surprise me by saying, ‘bawal na (it’s now prohibited’. I will prohibit them from violating our Constitution, violating the arbitral award’. Yun lang ang hinihingi ko sa kanya. (That’s the only thing I’m asking him). Surprise me, bawal na mangisda sa ating EEZ (prohibit Chinese fishing in our EEZ),” Carpio said during the pre-SONA (State of the Nation) media briefing Friday.
The former Supreme Court magistrate said there is a simple test that Duterte should do in the remaining one year of his presidency
“I have a very simple test for that. The Constitution says that the EEZ of the Philippines is for Filipino only. All the fish in the West Philippine Sea is for Filipino fishermen only. That’s the Constitution, that’s the Arbitral Award, that’s UNCLOS, that’s international law,” he stressed.
Carpio maintained that it was Duterte himself who allowed Chinese fishermen to fish in the country’s EEZ due to his agreement with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
“That is against our Constitution, against the Arbitral Award, against UNCLOS, against international law,” the retired justice insisted, adding that wooden boats of Filipino fishermen are no match with the largest fishing fleets and huge trawlers of Chinese fishermen.
According to Carpio, Filipino fishermen are already pleading with President Duterte to stop Chinese fishing activities in Philippine waters which is pushing the cost of fish, especially galunggong (blue mackerel scud) to an all-time high.
“Yung galunggong ngayon (The galunggong these days) when Duterte became president, was P170 per kilo. Ngayon P240 (Now it’s P240), more than double. Kawawa ang consumers kawawa ang ating mga fishermen (I pity the consumers and our fishermen), iniimport natin ngayon ang galunggong from China (we are now importing galunggong from China).
Carpio lamented that the expensive galunggong in the Philippine market these days is the same galunggong being imported from China.
“The same galunggong that the Chinese fishermen are stealing from our EEZ is the same galunggong being sold to us courtesy of President Duterte,” he said.