Carpio’s terms for PH Rise research

THE latest issue on Philippine Rise, formerly known as Benham Rise, focused on Senior Associate Justice Antonio T. Carpio’s statement that China should not be allowed to conduct marine scientific research in Philippine Rise which the United Nations Commission on the Law of the Sea has recognized as part of the Philippine extended continental shelf (350 nautical miles from the shore).
Presidential Spokesperson Harry disputes this.
Carpio said, “UNCLOS is a ‘package deal,’ which means that a state that ratifies UNCLOS must accept its rights and obligations as one entire package. A ratifying state cannot cherry pick – accepting only certain provisions and rejecting others.
“By refusing to accept the award of the UNCLOS arbitral tribunal pursuant to the dispute settlement provisions of UNCLOS, China is not accepting its obligation under UNCLOS. China should not be allowed to enjoy its rights under UNCLOS, like conducting MSR in Benham Rise, while it refuses to accept its obligation under the arbitral award. Otherwise, China is cherry picking and not taking UNCLOS as one package deal.”
It must be stressed that Philippine Rise is not part of Philippine territory. The country therefore does not exercise sovereignty – the supreme right of the state to command obedience within the state- over it.
But as part of the country’s extended continental shelf, only the Philippines has sovereign rights over the 13-million-hectare undersea region east of Luzon. Article 77 of UNCLOS, a state sovereign rights include to explore and exploit the oil, gas and other mineral resources in Benham Rise, and even the sedentary species (e.g., abalone, clams and oysters).
Other states, have rights on another state’s extended continental shelf but are limited to (1) fishery research because the fish in the ECS belongs to mankind; (2) surveys on water salinity and water currents because the water column in the ECS belongs to mankind; and (3) depth soundings for navigational purposes because there is freedom of navigation in the ECS.
Carpio said in an explainer on Benham Rise last year said, “However, if the Chinese vessels were conducting seismic surveys to look for oil, gas and minerals, then they would be in violation of UNCLOS because UNCLOS has reserved the oil, gas, minerals and even sedentary species in Benham Rise to the Philippines since Benham Rise is part of Philippine ECS.”
Now, Roque disclosed that it was President Duterte himself who decided to allow the Chinese to conduct scientific research in Philippine Rise with University of the Philippines scientists.