May 21, 2024

The Insider News

Direct from the source

PH maritime zone law needed to strengthen defense in West PH Sea

SENATOR Win Gatchalian is pushing for the adoption of a law that would establish maritime zones in the Philippines because it would strengthen the country’s rights to the West Philippine Sea, which was upheld by a 2016 arbitral ruling.

Gatchalian emphasized this following the hearing conducted by the Senate Special Committee on Philippine Maritime and Admiralty Zones.

Such a proposal, if enacted, will strengthen the 2106 landmark arbitral victory obtained by the Philippines against China. The decision nullified Beijing’s claim to the so-called nine-dash line in the West Philippine Sea.

“The legal recognition of the arbitral ruling is our best defense and our strongest message to the world that we insist on our sovereignty and our rights,” the senator said.

Gatchalian recently filed Senate Bill 2394, or The Philippine Maritime Zones Act, which seeks to define the country’s maritime zones, and harmonize the country’s maritime territory laws under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

“Our laws will ratify the 2016 arbitral ruling and this will be one of the strongest signals in the world, that we are asserting our sovereignty and we are asserting our exclusive economic zone and our rights in the region,” Gatchalian emphasized.

According to him, declaring our maritime zone boundaries means that the country will confirm the geographical extent of its maritime domain. The senator further emphasized that the establishment of local laws will enforce the country’s compliance with UNCLOS so that the country can enjoy the rights and benefits of such convention.

Under Gatchalian’s bill, the country’s maritime zones consist of internal waters, archipelagic waters, territorial sea, contiguous zone, exclusive economic zone (EEZ), and continental shelf in accordance with international law.

To enhance the Philippines’ national security and protect its economic and environmental interests, Gatchalian also recently filed another bill that seeks to designate the country’s archipelagic lanes.