“Filing a new case against China will reverse our diplomatic gains,” Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque said in a statement in response to report on the destroyed coral reefs in Scarborough Shoal.
He said that the Duterte administration believes in diplomacy. “We are a witness to how our friendly consultation and negotiation with China yielded positive results,” Roque said.
“At present, we have an existing bilateral consultation mechanism (BCM) with China, which has resulted in productive exchange of views on how to boost cooperation on areas which include maritime environmental protection,” he added.
Roque noted that the Philippines has continuous discussions on environmental issues with China and both countries are committed to protecting and preserving the environment and to deal strictly with those who do not abide by relevant regulations.
“We can therefore discuss the issue of destroyed coral reefs in Scarborough Shoal as this forms part of the area of maritime environmental protection instead of filing a new case,” he said.