IBP, fishermen withdraw WPS kalikasan suit

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The Integrated Bar of the Philippines and seven petitioner-fishermen have filed a motion before the Supreme Court withdrawing their petition for writ of kalikasan to protect the West Philippine Sea.

“With due regard to the plight and position of the fishermen-petitioners, the views and recommendations of the handling lawyers and the IBP chapters involved, and the matters raised by the Honorable Supreme Court, a motion has been filed for the withdrawal or discharge of the counsels for the fishermen and for the withdrawal of the petition,” IBP national president Domingo Egon Cayosa said in a statement.

Their withdrawal came after Solicitor General Jose Calida during oral arguments last week filed a manifestation before the SC, saying the fishermen disowned the petition.

But the IBP stressed that Calida’s manifestation has “caused this case to become a media spectacle instead of being a case that presents important issues concerning the environment in the West Philippine Sea.”

The petition sought the issuance of a writ of kalikasan asking the government to preserve, restore, and rehabilitate Panatag Shoal, Ayungin Shoal, and Panganiban Reef amid the dispute with China.

They noted the marine features have been heavily damaged due to China’s supposed artificial island building activities in the area.

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