IBP, FLAG file writ of kalikasan case to save West Philippine Sea environment

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The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) and the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) have asked the Supreme Court (SC) to issue a writ of kalikasan compelling the government to save the environment in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

Named as respondents in the petition were Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, and Admiral Elson Hermogino of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).

The petition insisted on the need for the enforcement of Philippine environmental laws in Ayungin Shoal and Panganiban Reef in the Spratly Islands, as well as Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal west of Zambales.

It cited the country’s sovereignty over the said maritime features as part of its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

The petition anchored its factual allegations on the evidence submitted by the Philippines in its successful case against China before the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA). The evidence concerned the artificial island-building activities of China in the features claimed by the Philippines.

“Foreign poachers and foreign construction and land reclamation entities have caused massive environmental damage in Philippine waters and the Philippine EEZ. They destroyed coral reefs, harvested endangered species including giant clams, engaged in illegal fishing, and built artificial islands,” IBP National President Abdiel Dan Fajardo said in a statement.

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