MANILA—The government should reject the verbal agreement with China pertaining to the Philippine exclusive economic zone, Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said Thursday.
Carpio made the statement after President Rodrigo Duterte talked about a deal he made with Chinese President Xi Jinping on fishing in disputed waters.
"This verbal agreement, aside from being clearly against the Constitution, is so lopsided it should be rejected by the Philippine government. Reed Bank is within Phillippine EEZ. Under the Constitution, the use and enjoyment of the fish and other natural resources within Philippine EEZ is reserved exclusively for Filipinos," Carpio said in a statement.
For Carpio, Chinese fishermen can quickly deplete the fish population in Reed Bank should they be allowed to play their trade there.
"China has the largest fishing fleet in the world with huge modern trawlers. The Filipinos only have wooden boats with outriggers. The Chinese can deplete the fish in Reed Bank very quickly," he said.
Carpio also earlier warned that allowing Chinese fishermen in Philippine waters is unconstitutional.
Duterte last month revealed that he had a 2016 verbal agreement with Xi that allows Beijing to fish in Manila’s exclusive economic zone.
China claims nearly all of the South China Sea and has refused to recognize a United Nations backed-arbitral ruling that invalidated its sweeping claims.