DOJ to complete environmental case vs China 'in a few weeks'

FILE PHOTO: This photo taken on 22 September 2023 shows a wooden boat, with Philippine fisherman Arnel Satam on board, drawfed by a Chinese coast guard vessel after he was intercepted for attempting to enter Scarborough Shoal in disputed waters of the South China Sea. In a high-seas chase lasting several minutes, Satam tries in vain to outrun the faster boats and slip inside the ring of reefs controlled by China, where fish are more abundant. The fishermen complained that China's actions at  Scarborough Shoal were robbing them of a key source of income and a place to shelter safely during a storm.
FILE PHOTO: This photo taken on 22 September 2023 shows a wooden boat, with Philippine fisherman Arnel Satam on board, drawfed by a Chinese coast guard vessel after he was intercepted for attempting to enter Scarborough Shoal in disputed waters of the South China Sea. In a high-seas chase lasting several minutes, Satam tries in vain to outrun the faster boats and slip inside the ring of reefs controlled by China, where fish are more abundant. The fishermen complained that China's actions at Scarborough Shoal were robbing them of a key source of income and a place to shelter safely during a storm. (Photo by Ted ALJIBE / AFP)

The Department of Justice (DOJ) disclosed that they expect to complete the environmental case against China for the environmental damages in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) "in a few weeks".

This was according to DOJ spokesperson Assistant Secretary Mico Clavano on 30 May, saying the office is now in coordination with the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) to make the environmental complaint against China solid.

"We need to strengthen all pieces of evidence that need to be attached. But we are confident that in a few weeks, we will complete our complaint and the attached evidence," said Clavano in a Bagong Pilipinas Ngayon briefing.

"So hopefully, with the help of the Office of the Solicitor General, we will be able to file an environmental case against China," he added.

To recall, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla first mentioned the filing of a case against China in September 2023, after the Armed Forces of the Philippines Western Command (AFP-WESCOM) confirmed that there were cases of massive coral harvesting along Rozul (Iroquois) Reef in the WPS.

He later said that the government may file the case in early 2024 and talks about filing an environmental case against China have been ongoing since 2023, as Beijing's actions in the WPS have long damaged the area's marine biodiversity.

Report showed that China's intrusion in the disputed waters has led to the destruction of an estimated 2,000 hectares of coral reefs.

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