By The Arbitrary Pointer
The Philippines is once again confronted with issues on land ownership dispute. This is not far from last year’s issue on Spratly Island where our country wrestled for constitutional ingenuity. In fact, China recently ordered the Philippines to withdraw claims of owning the Scarborough (or the Panatag) Shoal—known to be a rich natural resource for different fishes and corals, natural gas, minerals, and oil deposits—which is geographically located in the boundary of the West Philippine Sea and the South China Sea.
According to the People’s Government of China (PGC), they [China] should be the ones controlling the island because it is part of their country’s territorial sovereignty. They furthered that if the Philippines will not give the island to them, a possible of war might occur wherein PGC said that they may force to send military men to attack the Philippines if its government will remain hardheaded and unyielding.
On the other hand, the Philippine government insisted that the country is the rightful owner of the island basing on the 200 nautical miles (370 km) of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). It is found in the Philippine constitution, that the EEZ under Presidential Decree No. 1599 issued by President Ferdinand Marcos on June 1978, enables the state to have special rights over the exploration and use of marine resources, including production of energy from water and wind.
The Philippine Coast Guard Patrol Vessel and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources slashed their standoff with the China Sea Bureau of Coast Guard Patrol after two months and one week of deliberate argument, leaving each side in total disagreement. With this, the Philippines’ position on its claim over the Scarborough Shoal is steadfast and irrevocable and that China’s threats would not weaken the Philippines’ spirit.
We have witnessed the misunderstanding of both parties on the local and international news. The media have added fire to the issue after creating hearsays of a possible war between the two parties.
You see, if the conflict continues, our long-aimed partnership, camaraderie and understanding with China will turn to false hopes.
My countrymen, this calls for a great evaluation between the two countries—the Philippines and the Republic of China. Both nations must conduct peace talks and fair negotiations. There must be guiding principles that would limit the claim in each party. There must be friendly discussions that would determine as to who really owns the island. Moreover, every one of them must listen to each side’s explanations so as to gain respect from both parties.
With this, we just hope that they will open their minds and hearts in order to acquire peace and understanding. We hope that China will not have false boasts of its assumed claim of the Scarborough Shoal. And we hope that our government will fight for its rights over the island, over its national treasure.