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SC issues Kalikasan writ on Scarborough, Mischief

The Supreme Court (SC) on Friday issued a writ of kalikasan directing concerned government agencies to protect, preserve, rehabilitate, and to restore the marine environment in Scarborough Shoal (also known as Panatag Shoal), Ayungin Shoal, and Panganiban Reef (also known as Mischief Reef).

In a statement, the SC Public Information Office (PIO) said the Court granted the petition for a writ filed by the members of the Kalayaan Palawan Farmers and Fisherfolk Association (KPFAFA) and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP).

Named as respondents are the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Department of Agriculture, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, the Philippine Navy, the Philippine Coast Guard, the Philippine National Police, the PNP Maritime Group, and the Department of Justice.

Panatag Shoal is located in the municipality of Masinloc, Province of Zambales, while Ayungin Shoal and Panganiban Reef are located in the municipality of Kalayaan, province of Palawan.

In their petition, the groups cited as basis the documents submitted by the Philippine government in the inter-state arbitration proceedings under Annex VII to the 1982 United National Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) as well as the 2016 award by the tribunal in the South China Sea Arbitration, which established that foreign poachers, foreign construction and land reclamation entities have caused massive environmental damage in Philippine waters and the Philippine Exclusive Economic Zone. (PNA)

Benjamin Pulta / PNA