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Toward a Blue Green Commune: Collaborative Stewardship for the West Philippine Sea

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The West Philippine Sea was once a common fishing ground for the Asians living on the coastal areas adjacent to it. This is not a nostalgic appeal that we abruptly return to such an arrangement but a vision that claimants to the sea could still exercise restraints and moderate our greed. Continuing talks with the nations involved could reduce the tensions and might have a breakthrough on what could be acceptable to all.

Blue Green CommuneIf we go to legality on the matter of claims, Manila could insist on the win in the Arbitral Ruling of 2016. But as environmentalists, Nature Party Philippines, believe that we cannot partition the sea and the life in it. In the sea’s relationships with claimants, the most careful in not destroying biodiversity, as it is in their values, are the Filipino fisherfolks. Unlike other claimants who eat whatever they could from the sea, including endangered species. For example, when Filipinos accidentally capture species under watch, they return them to the sea to live and propagate more. But not so with Chinese fisherfolks, they harvest them for the highest bidder in their restaurants. Since the reports were correct about coral reefs as well, we call on China to restore the marine life it damaged in the sea and refrain from actions that kill the already endangered species in the area.

On the constructions of the military bases in the West Philippine Sea, they are not only costly to China but they also disturb the natural movements of waves and undercurrents that Nature made to continue the flourishing of sea life. With this disturbance to the natural rhythm of the sea, the artificial constructions should be abolished to ensure conservation for future use and maintain regional ecological security.

The legal debates, expert analyses, and nationalistic rhetoric should be minimized as they only exist as distractions. What the claimants should focus on is what would make life in the sea flourish, addressing the material and objective reality. We presuppose that the sea does not want greed in the legal court to divide it. While the tensions and threat of war created by national leaders of all countries involved should be set aside.

China, being the most financially capable and the one that “destroyed” the sea, must contribute more in the restoration of biodiversity in the waters. It is high time to say that nations involved must cooperate to propagate life in it and make it a Regional Green or Blue Green Commune for all. But if greed and nations’ “ownership” will be the barometer, and their greedy leaders be the sea’s judges, the environment usually suffers.

For international trade, Nature Party Philippines believes that it should not be hampered. Peaceful passage should be allowed and encouraged, especially for Green Ships (those that are environment-friendly).

In observations, we see and perceive that the Filipinos are the sea life-saving agents in the West Philippine Sea. With their natural love for the environment, they are the most careful in harvesting fishes, so as not to damage the coral reefs and other endangered sea animals. These responsible Filipinos should teach the Chinese to have the same sentiment for the sea environment.

We hope that China will not put more barriers and walls in the sea to insist on her claim and “ownership” but cooperate with the ASEAN for a common prosperity anchored on care for the environment and the seas. The Blue Green Commune could be the way forward.

Roy Cabonegro, President of the Makakalikasan Party, advocates for a philosophy of deep communitarian ecologism, where the rights of every being within an ecosystem are recognized and protected. This philosophy emphasizes that ecological security and green governance are paramount, with human beings acting as stewards who interpret and enforce the just relationships across species based on the best available science. This stewardship role is essential for ensuring that all beings can thrive without avoidable suffering and stress.

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