In this June 21 photo, former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario arrives at NAIA 3 after being denied entry and detained at the Hong Kong airport.
The STAR/Rudy Santos
Duterte's remarks on Chinese fishermen in Philippine EEZ worsens situation — Del Rosario
Patricia Lourdes Viray ( - June 27, 2019 - 12:22pm

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte's position on allowing Chinese fishermen in Philippine exclusive economic zone (EEZ) will worsen the situation in the West Philippine Sea, former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said.

Earlier this week, the president said China would continue fishing within Philippine EEZ due to the friendship between the two countries.

Duterte later on clarified that the Philippines cannot drive away China from the South China Sea, part of which is the West Philippine Sea, which they claim as theirs.

For the former top diplomat, Duterte's position on the matter would embolden Chinese fishermen in the country' waters.

"This will no doubt emboldern the fishermen, or if they are at all fishermen, under the militia strategy that they are using because they were acting like bullies before this was declared by the president," Del Rosario told ANC's "Headstart" Thursday.

Del Rosario stressed that this would be a basis for Duterte's impeachment as he is constitutionally mandated to secure national territory.

Under Section 2, Article XII of the 1987 Constitution, "The State shall protect the nation's marine wealth in its archipelagic waters, territorial sea, and exclusive economic zone, and reserve its use and enjoyment exclusively to Filipino citizens."

In the same interview, former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales pointed out that the Philippines has sovereign rights over its EEZ.

According to Morales, allowing other countries to fish in areas covered by the 200-nautical mile EEZ needs consent from the Filipino people.

Asked if a vote is needed to do so, Morales said the Congress could probably decide on the matter but not the president alone "just because you are friends."

"What does the Constitution say? The Philippines has sovereignty over the exclusive economic zone so whether other countries have no such similar provision that's another question," Morales said.

In March, Del Rosario and Morales submitted a communication before the International Criminal Court (ICC) against Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The two former top government officials asked the ICC to investigate the "atrocious actions" of Xi and other Chinese officials in the South China Sea and within Philippine territory.

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