MANILA - An international law expert on Thursday said the incident wherein Chinese Coast Guard vessels used water cannon against Filipino fishermen at the Panatag Shoal bolsters the Philippines' claim that China is violating the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
Atty. Harry Roque said the water cannon shows use of force against unarmed fishermen, which is prohibited under the UN Code of Conduct.
He added the incident should prompt the international tribunal to quickly resolve the territorial dispute.
He said the Philippines is the only country within 123 nautical miles of the Panatag or Scarborough Shoal, which means the waters form part of the Philippine exclusive economic zone.
"The fact that the Chinese are using water cannons clearly proves the Chinese are depriving our fisherman of their legal right to fish in our exclusive economic zone. It will also highlight the fact that the international tribunal should resolve the dispute as soon as possible. I think the message they're sending is the next time it may be real bullets, not just water," he said in an interview on ANC's Headstart.