June 25, 2024

The Insider News

Direct from the source

Senate Oks Maritime Zones Act to strengthen PH claim over WPS

SENATOR Win Gatchalian said a proposed measure that seeks to establish Philippine maritime zones is expected to strengthen the country’s claim over the West Philippine Sea as the Senate approved on third and final reading the proposed legislation.

Gatchalian, member of the Special Committee on Philippine Maritime and Admiralty Zone, emphasized he is hoping the proposed legislation would be enacted as soon as possible given continuing tensions over disputed waters in the West Philippine Sea.

Over the weekend, the Chinese Coast Guard blocked a Philippine vessel near the Scarborough Shoal which was delivering fuel and aid to Filipino fishermen in the area. The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said they had a similar encounter in the area a week earlier.

“This is an important piece of legislation that would strengthen our sovereign rights in the West Philippine Sea, which was already established by our victory in the 2016 arbitral ruling,” said Gatchalian, who co-authored the proposed measure.

The proposed Philippine Maritime Zones Act, once enacted into law, would clearly define the country’s maritime zones, harmonizing domestic laws on maritime territory with the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Specifically, the establishment of the country’s maritime zones would fortify the geographical extent of the Philippines’ maritime domain, Gatchalian explained.

“Inaasahan natin na ang pagsasabatas ng ating maritime zones ay magpapalakas ng ating mga karapatang pandagat at ang paggiit nito laban sa patuloy na panggigipit ng China sa ating mga kapwa Pilipino,” he said.

“Ang ating pagkakaisa at matibay na paninindigan ang susi sa mas matinding pagtatanggol ng ating karapatan sa sariling karagatan,” he ended.