Thinking Pinoy: #CHexit FAQ: Mga Katanungan tungkol sa Philippines vs China Arbitration Case

July 14, 2016

#CHexit FAQ: Mga Katanungan tungkol sa Philippines vs China Arbitration Case


Narito ang isang maikling Q&A na sinulat ng aking kaibigang si Sass Rogando Sasot tungkol sa desisyon ng ITLOS sa West Philippine Sea.

Si Sass Sasot ay isang diplomacy practitioner na kasalukuyang nag-aaral ng Masters sa International Relations sa Leiden University sa Netherlands [LinkedIn].


1. ANO ANG SOVEREIGNTY?

Ang ibig sabihin ng sovereignty ay full and absolute control and authority within a territory.

Ang territory ng isang bansa ay nagtatapos sa kanyang territorial waters, 12 nautical miles mula sa kanyang baseline. Pati ang airspace, bed at subsoil ng territorial waters ay kasama rin sa territory ng isang bansa. Sa lahat ng iyan may sovereignty ang isang bansa. (Kung may overseas territory ka, obviously may sovereignty ka rin doon).

And in international relations, you can only have sovereignty kung i-recognize yan ng ibang bansa. Hindi ibig sabihin na sinabi mong may sovereignty ka, may sovereignty ka na.



2. MAY SOVEREIGNTY BA TAYO SA ATING EEZ?


Ang EEZ ay ang buong 200 NM from the baseline. Ayon sa international law, ang parte lang ng EEZ na may sovereignty tayo ay ang 12NM na territorial waters. Pagkatapos ng 12 NM na yan, ang mayroon lang tayo ay sovereign rights at limited jurisdiction.

3. ANO ANG SOVEREIGN RIGHTS?

Ang sovereign rights ay partial at economic in nature. Ito po ay karapatan ng isang bansa na i-explore, i-exploit, i-conserve, at i-manage ang living and non-living natural resources sa loob ng kanyang EEZ.

Mayroon din tayong sovereign rights para sa economic exploitation at exploration ng EEZ para sa mga activities na katulad ng energy production from the water, currents, at wind.

4. ANO ANG LIMITED JURISDICTION?

Ang jurisdiction ay ang kapangyarihan ng isang bansa na ipatupad ang kaniyang batas within an area of its responsibility.

Ang jurisdiction po ng isang bansa sa kanyang EEZ ay LIMITADO lamang sa mga aspetong ito:
- pag-tayo at paggamit ng mga artificial islands, installations, and structures
- marine scientific research
- protection and conservation and preservation of the marine environment

5. ANO ANG SAKOP NG ATING EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS SA ATING EEZ AND CAN WE SHARE?

Ang mga non-living resources lang po katulad ng langis.

Nasa atin naman iyon kung i-share natin. Hindi po labag sa sovereign rights ang pag-share ng resources. Hindi rin labag sa konsepto ng sovereign rights kung ayaw natin. Kung maganda naman kasi ang deal why not. Pero hindi natin malalaman kung maganda ang deal kung hindi tayo makikipag-usap.

6. EH SA MGA LIVING RESOURCES PO KATULAD NG ISDA?

Ito po ay kumplikadong usapin.

a) Ang sabi po sa UNCLOS, dapat i-determine ng isang coastal State, katulad ng Pilipinas, ang kanyang “capacity to harvest the living resources” na nasa kanyang EEZ. Kung walang capacity ang isang State na i-harvest ang “entire allowable catch” dapat ay bigyan niya ng access ang ibang bansa sa “surplus" na ito.

b) Ang highly migratory po na mga isda dapat ay makipag-coordinate sa ibang bansa para sa conservation at optimum utilisation nito, both sa loob at labas ng EEZ.

c) May karapatan din ang mga landlocked States within our region na i-exploit ang surplus ng living resources sa ating EEZ

d) Traditional fishing grounds.

Although there’s nothing in UNCLOS that compels us to respect the traditional fishing activities of other States in our waters, the international practice is to respect traditional fishing activities (sharing po ang trend).

Halimbawa:
- Ang India at Sri Lanka ni-recognize nila ang traditional fishing rights ng kanilang mga mangingisda sa Palk Bay (1974)
- Ang Japan, kahit nag-establish siya ng 200NM fishery zone, ni-recognize pa rin niya ang traditional fishing rights ng mga mangingisda na galing sa China at South Korea kahit sa fishery zone na iyan (1978)
- Sa 1998 Eritrea vs. Yemen Arbitration Case sinabi ng Tribunal na even “sovereignty is not inimical to, but rather entails, the perpetuation of the traditional fishing regime in the region.” At dahil dyaan, kahit na ang sovereignty ng mga isla ay ibinigay sa Yemen, sinabi ng Tribunal na dapat i-ensure niya ang “traditional fishing regime of free access and enjoyment for the fishermen of both Eritrea and Yemen" and they "shall be preserved for the benefit of the lives and the livelihoods of this poor and industrious order of men.”
- sa decision ng Tribunal, the Scarborough Shoal is declared as traditional fishing grounds of both Filipino and Chinese fishermen. At kahit one day mapatunayan na ang Pilipinas ay may sovereignty sa Scarborough Shoal, hindi pwede paalisin ang mga Chinese fishermen dahil traditional fishing grounds din nila yan. Remember yung sinabi sa Eritrea vs Yemen? At syempre hindi rin pwedeng gambalain ng mga Chinese ang pangingisda ng mga Pilipino
Ang buong South China Sea actually ay traditional fishing grounds ng LAHAT ng mangingisda ng lahat ng bansa na nakapalibot dito.

So, it’s either maging swapang tayo or makipag-kasunduan tayo sa lahat ng bansa na i-respeto ang ating common tradition with them.

Isa pa, the ecological crisis in the South China Sea (dwindling fish stocks o ang pagbaba ng stocks ng mga isda) URGENTLY requires na makipag-cooperate tayo whether we like it or not. Ang exploitation kasi ng mga isda sa dagat ay economically managed, the new thinking is ecosystem-based fisheries management, and that requires multilateral efforts kasi wala namang kinikilalang EEZ or territory ang kalikasan.

7. MAPAPAALIS BA NATIN ANG CHINA SA ATING EEZ?

Hindi. Walang sinabi ang Arbitral Tribunal na dapat paalisin ang China. Ang sinabi lang ng Tribunal ay hindi nila pwedeng gambalain ang ating mga mangingisda at ang oil exploration sa Reed Bank na ginagawa ng kumpanya ni Manny Pangilinan.

And remember, the Philippines has no sovereignty over its EEZ. That means, walang power to exclude in its most extreme form ang Pilipinas sa zone na iyan.

Sabi nga ng yumaong US Supreme Court Justice na si Antonin Scalia: sovereignty is inherently the power to exclude people who have no right to be there. Sa sovereignty lang yan buong-buo at presence based, meaning kung walang karapatan ang isang tao na tumapak sa territory mo, pwede mo syang tanggalin kesehoda pa kung anong ginagawa niya. Sa sovereign rights, partial lang ang exclusion at related sa activity at hindi sa mere presence.

Generally, the only activities that UNCLOS doesn't allow in your EEZ are economic in nature (exploration and exploitation ng living and non-living resources); kasi ikaw ang may exclusive rights dyaan, specially sa non-living resources. Non-economic activities are not forbidden; tapos may traditional fishing rights pa.

They can be present there basta hindi nila lalabagin ang karapatan mo. So yung military vessel issue nga ng China sa 2nd Thomas Shoal hindi pinaki-alaman ng Arbitral Court even though na the court decided na yang shoal na iyan ay nasa EEZ ng Pilipinas. They can be there, hwag lang nilang pakikialaman ang ginagawa ng mga mangingisda natin at ng exploration sa oil.



8. ANONG MANGYAYARI SA MGA ARTIFICIAL ISLANDS NG CHINA NA NASA ATING EEZ?

Although sinabi ng Tribunal na violation ito sa UNCLOS, walang sinabi ang Tribunal kung anong dapat gawin.

Hindi rin sinabi ng Tribunal na dapat lisanin iyon ng China at ibigay sa Pilipinas. Wala rin naman kasing nakalagay sa UNCLOS kung anong dapat gawin sa mga naitayo na.

Furthermore, UNCLOS only said na ang mga bansa ay may jurisdiction about establishments of artificial islands within their EEZ. Hindi po ibig sabihin nito eh yung mga naitayong artificial islands, structures, etc ay ikaw ang may ownership. Ikaw lang ang binigyan ng UNCLOS ng karapatang mag-regulate. Ngayon kung naviolate yang karapatan mo, it doesn't mean you will have ownership over those structures. Walang nakalagay sa UNCLOS about that. Hwag mag-assume.

9. PAPAANO PO NATIN SILA MAPAPAALIS SA MGA ARTIFICIAL ISLANDS NA IYON?

Negotiate with them or launch a war with them. Pero one thing is for sure, kung ikaw ang nasa posisyon ng China lilisanin mo ba ang mga islang iyon at ibibigay sa Pilipinas? No.

If you are really concerned about those islands, the most constructive way to deal with them is to talk to China regarding how both of you can benefit from them. Negotiate. Negotiate. Negotiate.

10. SO GANOON NA LANG IYON?

May legitimate interest po ang China kung bakit nila itinayo ang mga islang iyon: security.

Although the establishment of those artificial islands within the EEZ of the Philippines is illegal dahil walang permission ng Pilipinas, China has a legitimate reason why they need to have a strong foothold in the South China Sea. Legality and legitimacy are not the same in international relations.

Ang halos lahat ng trade na dumadaan sa South China Sea ay galing o papunta sa China. If you are going to study Chinese history, you'll understand the painful lessons China had to learn by not securing the flow of trade to and from its shores. China has experienced its most humiliating defeats from the Europeans through that sea. So hindi mo talaga mapapaalis ang China dyaan dahil their security would be at stake. If that trade gets obstructed, China’s economy will be in peril. And you don’t want a big country like China to fail because it will have negative repercussions in the entire world, and it will be much worse than the Global Financial Crisis.

Ngayon, dahil hardliner ka, eto: If the Philippines can ensure China that it can guarantee security sa flow of trade to and from China, then by all means paalisin ninyo sila. If the Philippines has the capacity to secure that trade for China, paalisin ninyo ang China.

Even the United States secures the flow of maritime trade going to and coming from the US by deploying its navy and having naval outposts. China is simply doing what any country that has an economy with a global reach is doing.

Kaya nga napaka-unreasonable and illogical ng mga concerns about China violating freedom of navigation dahil most of the navigation going on in that sea ay may kinalaman sa trade with China: sa Vietnamese side ng South China Sea dumadaan lahat, while sa Philippine side dumadaan yung ibang papunta at galing ng Australia. Why would they stop freedom of navigation, eh maritime trade is the artery of their economy?? Ano yan suicide?

Kahit ang Pilipinas ang nasa lugar ng China, the Philippines will do the same. So recognise the legitimate interests of China and see how the Philippines and China can work together in order for the Chinese interests to be not inimical to the legitimate interests of our country. And you will not know their legitimate interests and how we can reconcile our interests with them if you are not going to talk to them.

11. NAKU MASAMA TALAGA ANG INTENTION NG CHINA!

You can never know their intention if you are not going to talk to them. If you don't talk to them and assume na masama ang intention nila, all your actions will be based on an illlusion.

Obviously, you can never fully know the intentions of another country even by talking to them. The solution to this problem is talking to them regularly. Eh yung syota mo nga hanggang ngayon hindi mo ma-intindihan, eh isang bansang may complex history, different culture, at language pa kaya? So kapit lang. Not talking to them and not having a good relationship with them don't put you in a better position.

12. SO SA ATIN ANG SPRATLYS?

The Arbitral Tribunal didn’t say anything about that. Hwag kang ambisyosa.

13. SO ANONG MANGYAYARI SA SCARBOROUGH SHOAL?

Both Filipino and Chinese fishermen are allowed to operate there. The Arbitral Court didn’t award the Scarborough Shoal to the Philippines or to China because the Tribunal has no authority to determine issues of territorial sovereignty.

Pero kahit na one day mapatunayan na ang Pilipinas o ang China ay may sovereignty sa Scarborough Shoal, hindi nila pwedeng paalisin ang mga mangingisda ng isa't isa kasi nga traditional fishing grounds ng kapwa nila mangingisda ang shoal.

That's why the decision said, mali ang China sa paggambala sa mga mangingisda natin, pero hindi nangangahulugan na mga Pilipinong mangingisda lamang ang pwedeng mangisda doon. Both Chinese and Filipino fishermen have the right to be there. In short, walang swapangan.

14. SO ANG SOUTH CHINA SEA AY WEST PHILIPPINE SEA?


Yan ang sabi ng propaganda ng Aquino Administration. The Arbitral Tribunal doesn’t refer to the sea as West Philippine Sea but as South China Sea.

15. SO ATIN ANG SOUTH CHINA SEA?

Walang sinabing ganyan ang Arbitration Court. Huwag ka nga.

16. MAKA-CHINA KA BA?

I’m not for China nor for the Philippines. I'm for international stability and realistic thinking. And I serve my country by being independent of it.

17. WHAT'S YOUR BACKGROUND AT MASYADO KANG NAGMAMARUNONG?

Graduate po ako ng Combined Major in World Politics and Global Justice, minor in International Development, magna cum laude, sa Leiden University College-The Hague. Some of my key courses are International Law, Jurisdiction, Transnational History, Sovereignty and Statehood, Peace and Conflict Psychology, Conflict Resolution and Settlement, Foreign Policy and Diplomacy at Multilateral Institutions (both I studied under a former NATO Secretary General).

I studied din po sa UCLA ng US Foreign Policy at Chinese International Relations. At "Global Poverty, Local Solutions" sa International Institute of Social Studies

Currently, I'm doing a master's in international relations, working on my thesis on the South China Sea conflict, dito pa rin po sa The Hague.

I have at least 10 years of international experience and worked with people at the international level, such as international NGOs, private international defence and consultancy firm (on chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear threats), and high-level diplomats.

So I just don't have the academic training on international relations, may practical experience din po ako.
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