THE Supreme Court (SC) has decided to hold an oral argument on the petition of fishermen to compel the government to protect and preserve the disputed areas in the West Philippine Sea.
In an en banc resolution, the SC set the oral argument on June 25 regarding the writ of kalikasan case seeking to protect, preserve and rehabilitate the environment in Scarborough or Panatag Shoal, Ayungin Shoal and Mischief Reef or Panganiban Reef.
Petitioners sought relief from the SC against what they called “neglect of performance of the duties of the government in violation of environmental laws resulting in environmental destruction of damage in the shoals.”
They said the government specifically failed to act on activities of Chinese fishermen in the said areas, which violate the country’s environmental laws.
The group 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.