Fishers withdraw writ of kalikasan suit

July 09, 2019

THE government and petitioners in a writ of kalikasan case yesterday agreed to dismiss the petition during an oral argument proceeding at the Supreme Court.

Solicitor General Jose Calida revealed in open court that the 19 petitioner-fishermen withdrew their signatures from the petition.

“Wala kaming alam dito at hindi namin suportado ang inihaing petisyon,” Calida said during the oral arguments quoting an affidavit from one of the fishermen.

“These statements show deception, your honors. As for petitioner IBP, they did not even allege in what capacity it is suing. Or what injury it has sustained,” Calida added.

The petition sought the issuance of a writ of kalikasan asking the government to preserve, restore, and rehabilitate Panatag Shoal, Ayungin Shoal, and Panganiban Reef amid the dispute with China.

These areas, internationally known as Scarborough Shoal, Second Thomas Shoal, and Mischief Reef, are all part of the West Philippine Sea.

They noted the marine features have been heavily damaged due to China’s reported artificial island building activities in the area.

The group also explained that Ayungin Shoal and Panganiban Reef are part of the exclusive economic zone where the country has jurisdiction, as declared by the 2016 decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration. They said Scarborough Shoal, on the other hand, is part of the EEZ under Republic Act 9522 to the Philippine Baselines Law.