The Philippine government’s protests through media now sounds like a broken record.
The United Nations International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea will start the hearing of the Philippine suit against China’s nine dash line map which encroached on territories of the Philippines, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam on July 6.
But even a favorable decision by the U.N Arbitral Tribunal, which is expected next year, won’t bind China which has refused to participate in the legal process.
What is left for the Philippines to do then?
Two weeks ago, Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, who has taken almost singlehandedly the job of educating Filipinos and the world on the South China Sea dispute, suggested that the Philippines should ask the U.N. for a “provisional measure” to stop China’s reclamation and construction activities in the disputed seas.
The UN Convention of the Law of the Sea or UNCLOS provides that if a dispute has been duly submitted to a tribunal of competent jurisdiction, the tribunal may prescribe any provisional measures which it considers appropriate under the circumstances to preserve the respective rights of the parties to the dispute or to prevent serious harm to the environment, pending the final decision.