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No lies. No distortions. Just the facts. And the truth about issues that matter.
Facts First with Christian Esguerra.
Magandang araw po sa inyo lahat. Ako po si Christian Esguerra at welcome po sa ating special episode ng ating Facts First podcast sa ngayong araw na ito.
Alam niyo po yung ating live interviews. Ginagawa po natin Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Pero meron po kasi napaka-importanting topic na ayaw po nating patagalin, ayaw po nating palampasin.
Okay pag-usapan po natin ang nangyari ng February 6 dito po sa may vicinity po ng Ayungin Shoal kung saan yung Chinese Coast Guard tinutukan po ng tinatawag na military grade laser yung isang Philippine Coast Guard vessel.
At dahil po dito nagkaroon po ng tinatawag na temporary blindness doon po sa tripulante, sa crew doon pong Philippine Coast Guard vessel.
Gusto ko po pag-usapan to kasi ayaw ko pong patagalin yung gaslighting na ginagawa ng China. Tingnan nyo po yung statement ng Chinese Foreign Ministry ngayong araw na ito.
Sinabi po nila, on February 6, a Philippine Coast Guard vessel intruded into the waters of the Rennai Reef without Chinese permission. Wow!
Tapos sabi pa nila, in accordance with China's domestic law and international law including UNCLOS, the Chinese Coast Guard ship upheld China's sovereignty and maritime order and acted in a professional and restrained way.
Marami siguro nagbabadrip sa inyo. Philippine Coast Guard vessel na yung hinaras. Magpasalamat pa tayo sa China dahil nagkaroon silang self-restraint in accordance with international law.
Mag-usapan po natin yung nangyari yan, yung legalidad at ano po yung susunod na hakbang na pwedeng gawin. Kasama po natin ang araw na ito si Retired Philippine Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio. Magandang araw po sir and thank you sa pagpapaulak po sa aking imbitasyon dito sa Facts Verse.
Para mas maintindihan ng mga nanonood sa atin. Ano man tingin nyo rito? Kasi sa ordinaryong pagtingin, Philippine Coast Guard vessel yung hinaras. Pero bakit ganon yung statement?
Unang una, ano ba yung mga dapat na ginawa dito? Ano ba? Basa nyo sa nangyari muna. Sige po.
Well, umpisa tayo sa bagong Coast Guard law ng China. In 2021, China passed a new Coast Guard law. Yung Coast Guard law na yan, authorized Chinese Coast Guard vessels to fire at foreign ships that intrude into China's jurisdictional waters.
Those that fish or put up structures or extract gas or oil. So, in other words sabi ng China gagamitang kayo namin ng canon missiles pag you intrude into our jurisdictional waters.
Yung jurisdictional waters nila napakalaki yan. Halos 80% ng South China Sea. So, 85% of the South China Sea. So, kinakain 80% of our EEZ in the West Philippine Sea. Yung EEZ natin mga that's bigger than our total land area. So, China is claiming 80% of that area.
Ngayon, so in-authorize nila yung Coast Guard nila. So, few days ago, yung Coast Guard ginamit yung batas. The Coast Guard used the laser weapon on Philippine, the Chinese Coast Guard used the laser weapon sa Philippine Coast Guard. Bakit weapon ito?
Yung convention na yan, signatory tayo, signatory ang China, signatory ang US at about 133 countries, more than the majority of the UN members. So, ang convention na yan, pinagbawal, outlawed, prohibited the use of lasers that blind permanently people.
So, however, outlawed, parang chemical, biological weapons, bawal. Hindi pwede gamitin ng kahit anong military all over the world. Bawal talaga yan. That's against international law. If you use blinding lasers that blind permanently.
Pero that means if it does not blind permanently, temporarily lang, pinapayagan, pwede gamitin. Pero it's still a weapon kasi that laser weapon can either blind permanently or can blind temporarily.
So, ang ginamit ng China is a laser weapon na temporarily blinded our Coast Guard people. But it's still a weapon kasi may ipekto sa ating Coast Guard vessel. They directed it sa Coast Guard ship natin at tinamaan yung mga Coast Guard people natin. They were temporarily blinded.
Now, that kind of laser, even temporary lang ang effect, blinding effect, is still a weapon. If they use that, it is an armed attack on a Philippine public vessel.
So, what China did, the Coast Guard vessel, was commit an armed attack on the Philippine Coast Guard. So, pasok na pasok yan sa mutual defense treaty natin sa U.S. na any armed attack on a public vessel of the Philippines, like the Coast Guard or the Navy, will trigger the operation of the treaty.
Pwede natin i-invoke yung treaty. But of course, hindi paalam ng China, hindi paalam ng ibang bansa, kasi bago ito. This is a gray zone. China operates in the gray zone.
Hindi paalam ng lahat na using a laser, even if it blinds temporarily, is actually an armed attack. So, dapat ang gawin natin, we will issue a statement jointly with the U.S. na using a laser weapon that blinds temporarily our Coast Guard or Navy people will be considered now an armed attack.
Because that's supportado yan ng convention, international law. Kasi signatory ang U.S., U.K., France, Germany, China, Russia, tayo, we're signatory to that. Contracting parties tayo.
So, we will clarify to the world na ito yung international law. If you use a laser to temporarily blind our Coast Guard people or Philippines, that is an armed attack on our vessel.
So, dapat we should clarify that kasi nasa gray zone ngayon yan. Let's take it out of the gray zone para klaro sa lahat na hindi ang gray zone. That's very clear it is an armed attack. So, that's my suggestion that we should clarify it.
Q. Sir, ang Chinese Coast Guard laban sa Philippine Coast Guard vessel, unang-una sa kanila ba yung lugar na yan? Tama ba yung sinasabi ng Chinese Foreign Ministry na meron silang sovereignty over that area?
That is settled already. That is settled already by the arbitral ruling. July 12, 2016, award of the arbitral tribunal, sabi ng arbitral tribunal,
yang second thermal shoal, which is a union shoal, that is part of the EEZ of the Philippines. Kasi that's a low tide. Pag low tide nakikita mo above water but high tide submergence.
So, that is low tide. That is not territory. It cannot be claimed as a sovereign land. Nobody can claim sovereignty over that. So, since it is outside the territorial sea of any state,
labas sa territorial sea ng kahit anong state, therefore it is part of the EEZ of the Philippines. Kasi yung EEZ starts outside of the territorial sea.
So, sabi ng arbitral tribunal, that is part of the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines. So pag exclusive economic zone mo, ikaw lang pwede magtayo ng struktura diyan.
Hindi pwede yung ibang mansa magtayo ng struktura diyan. So, bawal. That's illegal pag ang China. Because ating EEZ yan, tayo lang pwede magmangisda diyan.
Tayo lang pwede kumuha ng oil and gas diyan. Tayo pwede magpat... well, anybody can sail there under freedom of navigation but we are the only ones who can get the fish, oil and gas and other resources.
Hindi tayo pwede hintuin ng kahit anong mansa kasi sa atin yan. Ang resources, the natural resources, the economic resources belong to the Philippines.
May freedom of navigation, pwede dumaan diyan ang mga Amerikano, mga British with their warships, hindi pwede sila hintuin.
Hindi rin tayo pwede hintuin pag dumaan tayo. And we cannot stop others from passing kasi may freedom of navigation. But nobody can get the fish, oil and gas except the Philippines.
So in short, kahit sinasabi ng China sila may sovereignty diyan, sobrang matanding kalakuhan yan dahil pinag-uusapan EEZ, Pilipinas ang may sovereign rights over that area. It's China that had no business being there. Tama po ba?
Yes. China cannot stop us because first of all, hindi capable of sovereignty. Nobody, not even the Philippines can claim sovereignty kasi low tide diyan.
Pag lubog diyan, pag high tide. Pag lubog diyan, pag high tide, sovereign rights lang, hindi sovereignty. But sovereign rights, sabi ng tribunal, belong to the Philippines.
Okay. So maliwanag na yan sa mga nanonood. China yung hindi dapat nandon. Tayo dapat yung nandon pero vessel pa ng Philippine Coast Guard yung hinaras.
Okay. Number two, napaka-interesting yung sinasabi niyo po. So this should trigger the Mutual Defense Treaty of 1951 kung saan dapat may mutual aid.
Pilipinas sa US o kaya US sa Pilipinas kung magkaroon ng armed attack dito sa part na ito ng Pacific. When you say activate, ano po yung dapat mangyari?
Automatic po ba yan? Dapat sumama sa pakikigera ang US? Ano po ibig sabihin activation?
That's the tricky part because ang sabi sa treaty, subject to the constitutional process of the contracting parties.
In other words, if we invoke the treaty, the US will have to go to Congress for Congress to authorize.
Kasi it's only US Congress that can authorize the declaration of war or to take activity to authorize the use of force. May exception and I will explain later.
Tayo naman pag ang US mag-invoke ng treaty kasi inatake sila, ganyan din. We will have to go to the Philippine Congress or Congress to get that authority.
Hindi automatic, walang automatic. There is no such thing as automatic in all the treaties of the US with NATO, with Japan, with South Korea, with Australia.
Walang automatic kasi that power to declare war belongs to the legislature. Sa atin at sa USA only Congress, their Congress and our Congress.
So hindi pwedeng that can be given in advance. Patas tayo dyan. Pero may kinatawag na War Powers Act ang US President authorized by Congress.
The US Congress authorized the President of the US. Pag inatake yung US forces outside, let's say in the South China Sea, there's an attack on a US vessel, US military ship.
The US President has a power for 90 days to order retaliation, to use military force to engage the enemy. So automatic and after 90 days, the President of the US will have to go to Congress to extend it.
So that's needed kasi those incidents happen very fast. So you have to have capability to immediately react.
So as a rule, it's only US Congress, it's only our Philippine Congress that can declare war but may exception dyan pag inauthorized ng either Congress ang Presidente to act within a certain period and within a certain area lang.
So that's the situation. Pero all we, alam mo yung China, alam ng China yan na if they attack a Philippine vessel, Philippine Navy or Coast Guard vessel in the West Philippine Sea,
we can trigger the operation of the Mutual Defense Treaty. Kaya yung BRP Sierra Madre, hindi na pwede mag-sail yan, wala na yung makina, sirana, hindi nila ina-attack.
They can take over that ship anytime. Mga sampu lang yung soldiers natin dyan. They can take it easily pero we carry that Sierra Madre in a roaster of active ships.
Pag ina-attack nila yan, we can invoke the treaty. So hindi nila ina-attack. Alam nila ang consequence. Pero itong gray zone laser, wala pang klaros, hindi pa clear kung anong meaning yan, whether that is an armed attack or not.
If you clarify it, armed attack yan. Pag ina-attack yung Sierra Madre, we can invoke the treaty. If you use focus laser beam on our ship, ganyan din. So that's the situation. Thank you.
So yun yung nalinaw ni Jesse Scarpio sa mga nanonood. But again, we're not advocating for war dito. Ako personally, tinatanong ko lang yung mga possibilities and I want clarified kung ano ba ibig sabihin na activation.
So kung yun ibig sabihin na activation in the context of the Mutual Defense Treaty, in this particular context, ano po yung realistic na dapat maging response?
So yung mga panggit nyo, dapat i-clarify itong gray area na ito. Kung talagang considered na armed attack or dapat ma-considered na armed attack yung paggamit ng blinding laser.
Ano pa po yung realistic na nakikita nyo pwedeng gawin to actually prevent something similar from happening? Kasi pwede maulit po ito, diba?
... What else can we do? Nasabi na ng Presidente na we will have joint patrols with the US. Kasi yung joint patrol is action on the ground, on the sea.
Pag nakita ng Chinese Coast Guard nagpa-patrol tayo together with the US, atras sila. And that is assertion of our sovereign rights.
Kasi napakalawak ang West Philippine Sea. Okay may ruling tayo atin yan. Pero pag ando yung Chinese Coast Guard o ando yung Chinese fishing vessel nangingisda doon, paano natin hintoin yan unless we patrol?
We have to be there on site. So yung patrol na yan is our enforcement. Pag tayo lang ang lalaki ng barko ng China, the Chinese Coast Guard vessels dwarf our Coast Guard vessels.
So kailangan tayo mag-joint patrol. Nag-joint patrol na tayo during the time of President Aquino. Pero once lang, hininto ni Duterte. Iri-resume yan ngayon, tama yan.
We must resume it kasi that's the only way. Yun ang enforcement ng Arbitral Award. I-reinforce mong Arbitral Award pag dumadaan ka, sasabihin mo amin ito. You are there guarding your resources. That's the only way. Thank you.
Okay. Napakalinaw na. Pero dito po, pag-usapan din natin yung timing na itong ginawa ng China. Bakit tama ba impression na iba na parang it's more of the same if not mas nagiging agressive ang China ngayon in response to things like this doon sa portion ng South China Sea na kiniklaim nila at mismo dito sa ating exclusive economic zone.
May kinalaman sa pagpapalit ng gobyerno dito sa atin o yung pakikitungo natin ngayon sa US?
You cannot use armed force. You cannot go to war to settle a dispute between states. You must go to negotiation, mediation, judicial settlement or arbitration. Kaya tayo pumunta tayo sa Hague arbitration. Yung kinuha ng China yung Scarborough Shoal, we went to arbitration.
But China now passed a law. We don't have to follow the UN Charter kasi we will use force on our own. That is changing the fundamental international order. Alam mo, Russia is also doing it right now.
Sa Ukraine, Russia says amin ang teritoryon yan sa Donbass region. They just invaded it. Bawal yan. That's against international law, against the UN Charter. Kaya condemned overwhelmingly ang Russia by the UN by the UN. Apat lang states, mga allies ng Russia na bumutok sa Russia during the voting.
So dito naman sa South China Sea, China naman is trying to reverse the UN Charter again. So Russia is doing it in Eastern Europe and China is doing it in the South China Sea. They are trying to reverse the order kasi ang order ngayon you cannot go to war. You cannot use armed force to settle a territorial or maritime dispute.
Ang sabi ng Russia, no we can go to war, we can annex it by going to war. Sabi ng China, we can use force to take over the maritime zones in the South China Sea. So binabago nila. They are changing the world order.
Ang sumat total yan, if they succeed, it will be might is right. Hindi na right is might. It will be might is right. Babalik tayo to the period before World War II.
Before World War II, ang rule in international law is you can go to war if you win, what you did was correct, was valid. If you lost, what you did was wrong. So it was the rule of the jungle, rule of the might, might is right before the UN Charter in 1945.
Kaya gera ng gera tayo noon. Two world wars, sunod-sunod. But now since 1945 up to now, wala pang world war. May mga small wars, but not on that scale.
Because of that provision in the UN Charter, you cannot go to war to settle a territorial or maritime dispute or any dispute. Russia and China are trying to change that. And all of us here in this planet, we have to oppose that.
Kasi now many countries have nuclear weapons. If we go back to the era of going to war to settle a dispute, we will have a nuclear world war and that will be the end of the human race.
Napaka-lalim ang meaning nito. What Russia is doing in Eastern Europe, what China is doing in the South China Sea, the consequences will determine whether we will survive on this planet.
Because pag ginamit, if they will change the rule that you can use force now, magkakagera and eventually that will lead to a nuclear war.
So, nakakatakot ang inyong prognosis dito sa nangyayari. Well maraming salamat po former Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio for clarifying things for us and naliwanagan ang mga nanonood at nakikinig sa atin. Maraming maraming salamat po sir for joining us here on Facts Verse again.
As always sir, maraming salamat po. Thank you sir. Thank you.
Sovereignty, sovereign rights. Hindi naman po natin sinasabi na meron po tayong sovereignty over the 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone. Meron po tayo dyan sovereign rights.
Karapatan po natin, tayo po. Merong karapatan dyan na mangisda, gamitin yung resources, mag-extract ng oil or whatever na meron dyan.
At ang katunayan po, China yung nag-intrude doon sa Union Shoal. Hindi po tayo. Tapos yung vessel pa ng Philippine Coast Guard, siya pa po yung tinutukan ng blinding laser which caused temporary blindness doon po sa crew according po sa account ng Philippine Coast Guard.
So hindi po maganda yung nangyayari. Sana po ay magtulong-tulong tayong lahat dito tapos sana igawin po ng pamahalaan ang tama para po sa interest ng bawat Pilipino dito. Because before you know it, baka mawala na po sa atin yung mga resources na yan.
So isa po yan sa mga tinutukan nating issues dito sa Facts First. Yun pong nangyayari dyan po sa South China Sea. Doon po sa ating exclusive economic zone. At kung paano po paprotektahan ang ating interest, ang ating welfare dyan po sa lugar na yan.
So marami-marami salamat po for joining us on this special episode po ng Facts First. And again, ako po ang inyong host, si Christian Esguerra. Maraming salamat po.