Supreme Court takes action on disputed sites

May 03, 2019
Supreme Court

THE Supreme Court yesterday issued a Writ of Kalikasan to protect, preserve, rehabilitate, and to restore the marine environment in Scarborough Shoal, Ayungin Shoal, and Panganiban Reef (also known as Mischief Reef).

This after the SC granted the prayer for the issuance of a writ filed by petitioners Monico A. Abogado et al. to prevent violations of Philippine environmental laws in Philippine waters, and in the Philippine Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

Petitioners alleged that the government’s inaction on the activities of the Chinese in the contested areas of the West Philippine Sea were in violation of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna, the Philippine Fisheries Code, and Presidential Decree No. 1586, or Establishing the Environmental Impact Statement System in the Philippines.

Panatag Shoal is located in the Municipality of Masinloc, Zambales, while Ayungin Shoal and Panganiban Reef are located in the Municipality of Kalayaan, Palawan.

The petitioners cited the July 12, 2016 ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration finding that the Ayungin Shoal and the Panganiban Reef are within the country’s EEZ.

Likewise, the Arbitral Tribunal found that China’s land reclamation and construction of artificial islands, installations, and structures at Mischief Reef has caused severe, irreparable harm to the coral reef ecosystem.