Sotto urges gov’t to make map of PH’s maritime areas, define zones

Sotto urges gov’t to make map of PH’s maritime areas, define zones

By Ernie Reyes

MANILA — Senate President Vicente Sotto III today proposed that the government
come up with a map of the country’s maritime areas and define the
maritime zones under its jurisdiction to preserve and protect the
Philippines’ sovereign rights to carry out marine and maritime
activities in the disputed waters.

In filing Senate Bill No. 2289, Sotto said: “Let us make our own map,
similar to China’s nine-dash line. Let’s insist on our own maritime
zones. It is just a matter of really setting our foot down.”

Among others, the proposed measure seeks to “declare and define the
maritime zones” that would still be considered as part of Philippine
territory, and “provide for the necessary flexibility in the passage
of subsequent laws pertinent to the rights and obligations to which
the Philippines is entitled and may exercise over its maritime zones.”

The proposal, the Senate leader said, would “preserve and protect the
country’s maritime rights” and at the same time “preclude any
unwarranted and undesirable dispute with other nations involving our
maritime areas.”

SB 2289 declares that “maritime zones of the Philippines comprise the
internal waters, archipelagic waters, territorial sea, contiguous
zone, exclusive economic zone and continental shelf.” “All territories
of the Philippines shall generate their respective maritime zones in
accordance with internal law,” the proposal said.

The internal waters mentioned in the measure refers to waters on the
landward side of the archipelagic baselines not forming part of
archipelagic waters, and waters on the landward side of the baselines
of the territorial sea of territories outside of the archipelagic
baselines. Archipelagic waters refer to the waters on the landward
side of the archipelagic baselines.

The bill likewise states that the territorial sea of the Philippines
refers to the adjacent belt of sea measured 12 nautical miles from the
baselines of the territorial sea, while the contiguous zone refers to
the waters beyond and adjacent to its territorial sea and up to the
extent of 24 nautical miles from the baselines.

In this zone, proposed SB 2289 says the government would exercise
control to prevent infringement of its customs, fiscal, immigration or
sanitary laws and regulations within its territory or territorial sea;
and punish any infringement committed within its territory or
territorial sea.

Also in the measure is the definition of the country’s continental
shelf, which comprises the seabed and subsoil of the submarine areas
that extend beyond its territorial sea.

The proposal states that the Philippines could exercise sovereignty
over its internal waters, archipelagic waters and territorial sea, and
the airspace over it as well as its seabed and subsoil in accordance
with the UNCLOS and other existing laws and treaties.” (AI/MTVN)

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