Demand rent from China for occupying PH reefs – analyst

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines should demand rent from China for occupying its reefs in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), an analyst said. 

Perfecto "Boy" Caparas, a doctoral candidate at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, said this is a way of enforcing the Philippines' victory against China before an arbitral tribunal in The Hague.

"One way of asserting the arbitral award is by demanding from China payment of rent for its occupation, for example, of Mischief Reef," Caparas said in a lecture before the Indiana Council on World Affairs on Tuesday, March 28. 

Caparas also quoted another suggestion from Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, one of the staunchest advocates of the Philippines' case against China. 

"Another is, as Justice Carpio pointed out, demanding payment of damages from China by going back to the arbitral tribunal and this time, quantifying and claiming compensation for the damages wrought by China upon the Philippine marine ecosystem," he added.

He added that immediately at stake, "as can be gleaned from the arbitral award, is the need to revive, preserve, and protect the marine ecosystem in the Spratly Islands."

The West Philippine Sea remains the subject of a decades-long dispute between Manila and Beijing, despite a ruling in July 2016 that invalidated China's claim over the disputed waters.  

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier said he will not "raise hell" about the ruling for now, but "there will come a time" to confront China about it. Duterte is seeking better ties with China while he moves away from the United States, China's rival in the Asia-Pacific. –

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II is a senior reporter leading Rappler’s coverage of religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at