Senators back filing of environmental charges vs. China

(PNA) MANILA – The plan of Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla to file “environmental” charges against China before an international tribunal earns support from senators.

Senator Jinggoy Estrada is optimistic that the case is being studied thoroughly by the Department of Justice (DOJ) after China was reported to have destroyed corals in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

“Nothing prevents us from filing a legal case, especially based on established international laws and agreements such as the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS),” Estrada said in a statement released on Sunday.

“What is at stake here transcends territorial claims and disputes, it’s the environmental degradation and destruction by China, a violation of an obligation under the UNCLOS to protect and preserve the marine environment,” he added.

Senator Grace Poe also assured that she supports the move and will continue to push for a budget increase for the Philippine Navy and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) to better protect the country’s resources in WPS.

“We also support the plan of the Department of Justice to lodge a complaint over the destruction of our marine resources, which entails equal if not more focus from concerned agencies,” Poe said in a separate statement.

In a press briefing last week, Remulla said the case is “on behalf not only of the Filipinino people, but also for the rest of the humanity.

Remulla said the case is expected to be ready for filing early next year. (PNA)