top of page

Vol. 10 No. 1 | 2023 Edition

Violet Geinger

Sea Denial and a Scorched Earth Policy in the
West Philippine Sea


Jay L. Batongbacal, JSD 

The escalating trend in China’s assertion operations is unmistakable, and it would not be unreasonable to expect that in the near future the next escalatory step would be to engage in a limited application of force as a demonstration of its intent and resolve. This could perhaps take place in relation to the tenuous hold of the Philippines on Second Thomas Shoal, about which China has clearly displayed increasing belligerence and employed steady pressure to expel the token Philippine presence on it. Another possible scenario may involve a provocative warning shot or actual ramming of government ships. As such, other contingencies within the realm of possibility should be seriously contemplated and prepared for.  


This piece is offered in PDF format for easier reading. Download the PDF to read more.

Jay L. Batongbacal is a lawyer with degrees in Political Science and Law from the University of the Philippines, as well as Master of Marine Management and Doctor in the Science of Law, both from Dalhousie University (Canada). At present, he is a full Professor at the University of the Philippines College of Law and serves as Director of the Institute for Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea of the U.P. Law Center. He has worked extensively on maritime affairs since 1997, carrying out research, consultancy work, and teaching. Dr. Batongbacal was legal advisor to the Philippine delegation that successfully pursued the Philippines’ claim to a continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles in the Benham Rise Region before the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and the successful application before the International Maritime Organization for the designation of the Tubbataha Reef Natural Park Particularly Sensitive Sea Area. He has been included among the UNESCO/IOC List of Experts for UNCLOS Annex VIII Special Arbitration on Marine Scientific Research. In 2022, Dr. Batongbacal completed a Taiwan Fellowship Program at the National Taiwan Normal University in Taipei, Taiwan and a Fulbright Advanced Research and Lecturing Fellowship at the US Naval War College in Rhode Island, USA. 

bottom of page