“‘Di ba he already said that,” Presidential Spokesperson and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Secretary Salvador Panelo said on April 29 when asked if President Rodrigo Duterte is keen on declaring some parts of the West Philippine Sea as maritime protected areas.
“As an archipelagic state, the Philippines seeks to improve our collective capacity to manage and protect marine resources,” President Duterte said during the Session III of the Leaders’ Roundtable at the Second Belt and Road Forum in Beijing.
When asked if the Philippines needs consent from China for such declaration, Panelo said “no”.
“What do you mean consent eh as far as we are concerned, that’s ours. You don’t have to ask any consent from anyone,” he added.
He noted that China claims maritime areas in West Philippine Sea but “ang claim din naman natin, atin.”
National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. earlier said that the Philippines is considering to declare Pag-asa Island and the eastern part of the Kalayaan Island Group as maritime protected areas (MPA).
“With an MPA in place, we aim to institutionalize and promote efforts towards environmental and marine biodiversity protection within the resource-rich West Philippine Sea,” Esperon said.