Senator Panfilo Lacson said Wednesday that the word “friends” is not stated in the 1987 Constitution as a basis to use and enjoy the Philippine archipelagic waters, territorial sea, and exclusive economic zone.
In a Twitter post, Lacson sought help to find the word “friends” in a provision in the Constitution regarding the country’s marine wealth.
“Somebody please help me find the word “friends” below:
Art XII. Sec 2 (para 2) – 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.”
On Monday, President Rodrigo Duterte said China will continue to fish even in waters under the country’s exclusive economic zone.
“Why? Because we’re friends,” Duterte told reporters in Mandaluyong City.
The 22 Filipino fishermen who were left at sea for hours after their boat was rammed by a Chinese trawler near Recto Bank in the South China Sea on June 9 earlier urged Duterte to declare the area an exclusive fishing ground for Filipinos.
Senator Francis Pangilinan also said that allowing Chinese or other foreigners to fish in the Recto Bank area violates the Constitution.
“The Recto Bank is part of the Philippines’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). It is ours. This is clear to all, especially to the 22 Filipino fishermen who asked this of Secretary (Manny) Piñol after they almost drowned because a Chinese vessel rammed their fishing boat,” he said in a press statement.
He added the Philippine government has the sacred duty to defend the marine wealth in the EEZ and to “reserve its use and enjoyment exclusively to Filipino citizens” as what is stated in the Constitution.
“While the President can enter into agreements involving mineral resources under the last paragraph of Article XII, Section 2 of the Constitution, he cannot do so with respect to marine resources,” he said.
“Love the Philippines. Love the Filipinos, especially the fishermen who feed us. Don’t allow foreigners to fish in our EEZ, hold to account those who rammed and left our fishermen at sea,” Pangilinan added.