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EDITORIAL - We donât have to wait for any shooting to start

EDITORIAL - We don’t have to wait for any shooting to start

(The Freeman) - February 13, 2021 - 12:00am

Many people have different takes on China’s controversial law allowing its Coast Guard vessels to fire on foreign ships it deems to have intruded into its territory. The latest opinion comes from retired Supreme Court senior associate justice Antonio Carpio, well-known for securing the arbitral rule favoring the Philippines over China in some disputed areas of the South China Sea.

While others advocated taking action against China’s law as soon as possible --with action being defined as legal proceedings-- Carpio said he would rather wait for China to put the law into action --meaning waiting until they fire upon our vessels-- before going to the United Nations.

"If China fires on a Philippine vessel in the West Philippine Sea that's the time we go to a (UN Convention on the Law of the Sea) tribunal," Carpio is quoted as saying in CNN Philippines' "The Source".

We cannot deny that there is indeed some logic to what Carpio says; a crime has to happen before it can be reported as such.

However, is waiting a risk worth taking?

For the sake of argument let’s liken China’s firing upon our vessels as a crime. Then here comes China saying it will not hesitate to commit a crime. Doesn’t it become imperative for us to make sure that whoever says that they are ready to commit a crime never gets the opportunity to do so?

If we wait until China fires upon our vessels it may already be at the cost of one of our Coast Guard vessels. Or worse, one of our civilian fishing vessels.

Also, if we wait for China to fire first --which it may never actually do-- this will only prolong the suffering of our fisherfolk who cannot venture into areas they are legally entitled to fish in for fear of that threat hanging over their heads.

It results in a waiting game that will only benefit China.

China must be prevented from bringing the threat of shooting foreign vessels to bear at all. We don’t need to wait for any shooting to take place --and again we say there might be no shooting at all-- to start acting on this law, which is essentially a threat to our own sovereignty.

SOUTH CHINA SEA
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