MANILA – The Philippine government may need to allocate more funds to the military if the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea does not rule in favor of the Philippine maritime case against China, Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said Wednesday.
“The Armed Forces must be prepared if the United Nations tribunal says it doesn’t have jurisdiction over the West Philippine Sea dispute.” Carpio said in a forum held in Camp Aguinaldo .
“What will happen?” he asked military officials in the forum. “The only way we can protect ourselves is to acquire warships, warplanes, anti-ship missiles.”
“The Philippines, on its own, will not win in a shooting war with China.” Carpio added.
“Regardless of what and how many warships we’d purchase, we cannot defeat China. We can only hope to deter China, yet it is extremely unlikely we can win in a total war,” said Carpio. “So it’s absolutely pointless if the tribunal says there is no jurisdiction, the nine-dashed line won, then there is no law of the sea anymore. Each country will need to arm itself yet that is insufficient to resolve the dispute.”
He said the Philippines’ case and the UN tribunal’s choice will have a worldwide effect, especially on the United Nations Convention for the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
He said if the tribunal decides for China, “it will simply intensify and worsen the dispute and the judges in the tribunal will be out of the job on the grounds that no one will take after the law of the sea anymore.”
“Why is it vital to apply UNCLOS toward the South China Sea disputes? Because if we don’t apply it, then UNCLOS – the constitution for the sea and oceans of our planet – can’t also apply to any maritime disputes in the rest of the seas and oceans of the world,” he clarified.
“It would be the start of the end of UNCLOS. The rule of the naval canon will prevail in the sea and oceans, no more the rule of law. There will be a naval arms race among coastal nations,” Carpio said.
The Philippines is anticipating that the tribunal to decide on the jurisdiction over the case either in August or September. Assurances, others are more doubtfull
The Philippines is expecting the tribunal to decide on the jurisdiction over the case either in August or September.