HoR’s exuberant and blatant exuberance | Manila weather


THE longtime experts involved in the fight against China’s land grab have long defined which areas of the South China Sea belong to us – and what does not belong to us. The defined boundaries of our land claims have been tightened for several reasons. The first is to limit our claims to what is legitimately defined as Philippine territory under our laws. Second, take the moral and legal position of being anti-China, as the country has claimed most areas through a legal hokum called the nine-dash line. Third, the defined boundaries of our claim would also prevent conflicts with other Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries, reputable neighbors that could be delayed or provoked by any act of territorial extension on our part in southern China. Sea. How would the neighbors feel if we coveted what is theirs?

We cannot be seen as greedy and intimidating actors like China, otherwise we lose both the moral and legal basis for our claims. Our victory at the Permanent Court of Arbitration was the sum of many things: the legitimacy of our land claims, the extravagance / bankruptcy of China’s nine-dash line, and the international recognition of temperance and moderation. our demands or, frankly say, the timidity of our territorial ambitions. This timidity is the reason for the almost universal support for our demands on the South China Sea.

These experts, the former Senior Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Antonio Carpio, in particular, view with suspicion proposals for unfounded territorial ambitions that claim areas that can only be ours in our wild imaginations. Because restraint, not greed and savage and unfounded claims, was the founding principle of our territorial struggle. But it is a free country, and no one can stop the people – mostly people of authority – from making such savage claims. Two of those savage demands even took the form of land-centric bills tabled in the House of Representatives.

Representative Ann Hofer filed House Bill 9835 and Luis Raymond Villafuerte filed HB 9662. Both cover land claims considered by real experts based on our claims to be too exuberant and blatant. Perhaps, like the legal files of the Trumpist madmen who called for the annulment of the November 2020 election – which the courts have either categorically rejected or refused to hear.

How blatant are the land claims of the Hofer and Villafuerte bills?

Judge Carpio patiently explains that Rifleman Bank, Kingston Shoal, Orleana Shoal, Johnson Patch and Owen Shoal – which both bills claim to be our own – are all submerged in the extended Brunei continental shelf and cannot be the ours from afar. “To claim the submerged features, the Philippines will have to leap over Malaysia’s extended continental shelf,” the former judge wrote in a recent comment. This is precisely what China has done to claim our Reed Bank – jump over another country’s continental shelf, pretend there is no such buffer, then claim Reed Bank.

“Claiming these features submerged in Brunei’s extended continental shelf is not only blatantly contrary to Unclos (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea) and customary international law, it also defies logic and common sense. “, explained Judge Carpio patiently in a recent comment.

But wait, the overbreadth of the two bills doesn’t quite stop at these blatant claims. Both House bills also claim ownership of Louisa Reef, a high tide feature just off the coast of Brunei.

There are wilder claims.

Judge Carpio said the two bills also claim ownership of Royale Charlotte Reef, which is in Malaysia’s Exclusive Economic Zone. The high tide characteristic is also outside the polygonal lines of PD 1596 – the presidential decree issued by the late President Ferdinand Marcos in 1978 declaring the Kalayaan Island Group (KIG) in the Spratlys Archipelago to be an integral part of the Philippines by law history, occupation and legal title – and the Philippines has never claimed this high tide feature. To sting Malaysia even more, both Bills also claim Swallow Reef, now physically occupied by Malaysia.

Jubilee Bank, Ladd Reef and Coronation Bank are purported to be Filipino territories in the territorial wild goose hunt of the two bills. These are, according to Judge Carpio, inside the extended continental shelf of Malaysia, Vietnam or Brunei – but never the Philippines. Both bills also claim all of the Spratly Islands, including some high tide features now occupied by Vietnam.

Judge Carpio explains that the Philippines’ claim is limited to the Kalayaan Island group and not to the Spratly Island group as a whole.

Judge Carpio asked: Do we needlessly open a new territorial and maritime dispute between the Philippines on one side and Malaysia, Vietnam and Brunei on the other?

Maybe not. But the House of Representatives (HoR), as it is currently constituted, has this record of venturing into an exuberant and blatant policy. A keen observer has the impression that in the realm of policy-making, many members are out of touch and ignorant.

Remember the efforts to attract investment to heal the battered economy from Covid? Instead of improving governance, giving stability to investment rules (such as not canceling viable media franchises that employ thousands and serve millions of Filipinos by providing timely information) and develop a a skilled and globally competitive workforce, the HoR has embarked on a crazy and common movement. meaning violate the overdrive – make a change of Economic Charter.

I call it a desperate act of procuring the Constitution, a sacrosanct document, for investment crumbs.

The HoR is so outdated and out of step with world events that it does not realize that the era of neoliberalism is over. Much of the world is done with reckless deregulation and liberalization. And tax cuts too. There is a courageous new political world and it is beyond us.

When the HoR doesn’t go too far, some members venture into acts totally oblivious to our pandemic hell. Or the fool. Like the glitzy wedding of a party list representative on exclusive Balesin Island in a Michael Cinco gown, as dozens of unemployed and hungry PUV drivers she’s supposed to represent line the streets animated with begging bowls.

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