MalacaÃ±ang asserted that Duterte administration is already “doing its job” in enforcing environmental laws in the Philippine waters and exclusive economic zone.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo made the statement in response to the petition filed by Kalayaan Palawan Farmers and Fisherfolk Association at the Supreme Court (SC) to order the Duterte administration “to protect, preserve, rehabilitate or restore the environment in Panatag Shoal, Ayungin Shoal, and Panganiban Reef.”
Panelo said, the Coast Guards are are already there and filed diplomatic protest against the activities of China that are detrimental to ecology and maritime resources in the disputed mislands and to territories within Philippines EEZ.
However, Panelo admitted that the government “can not do beyond” deploying Coast Guards and filing diplomatic protest because “if you do something drastic as in armed enforcement it might provoke an armed conflict that might be too costly for us.”
“Now, thereâ€™s no problem about the area where it is ours and no foreign country is trying to intrude. But the problem is if it goes beyond that where there are conflicting claim over the area,” Panelo said in an interview.
“Well, thatâ€™s a start. Because if you file a diplomatic protest and the country subject of the protest would be talking to you then there will be an agreement between the two countries relative to your complaint.”