Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio spoke to students of Silliman University in Dumaguete City recently, and flipped back the pages of history to guide the students as to who really owns the Spratly Islands as part of SU’s General Integrative Lecture series.
“We’ve worked so hard for this arbitration so we don’t want to see it go down the drain,” he said of the action to be taken by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague, Netherlands, after lengthy hearings and discussions regarding jurisdiction of the disputed Spratly.
Carpio said he hopes the tribunal would rule in favor of the Philippine government.
If the decision says China’s 9-dash lines are void, the Philippines has the full 200 nautical miles of the area from Palawan to Luzon. The Spratly Islands, composed of 100 to 230 islets, atolls, coral reefs and seamounts across 250,000 square kilometers on the South China Sea, are the object of overlapping sovereignty claims by China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei. It encompasses only less than five square kilometers of land, but the presence of oil, gas, and other mineral resources resulted in a lot of claims.
Carpio said in case of a favorable ruling, it is best to gather the world to support the decision and convince China to comply it.