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Sotto Bill Seeks Philippines' Version of China's Nine-Dash Map

To define maritime zones.
by Erwin Colcol
A day ago
Photo/s: Philippine Coast Guard via AFP

Senate President Vicente Sotto III has filed a measure seeking to define the country's maritime zones in a bid to assert the Philippines' sovereign rights against continued Chinese incursions in the West Philippine Sea.

The measure aims to declare and define the maritime zones considered part of the Philippine territory and provide flexibility in the passage of laws relevant to the rights and obligations to which the Philippines is entitled and may exercise over these areas.

"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," Sotto said of Senate Bill 2289, a copy of which was obtained by reportr.

"This proposed bill may preclude any unwarranted and undesirable dispute with other nations involving our maritime zones," Sotto said.


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Under the measure, the Philippines' maritime zones is composed of its internal waters, archipelagic waters, territorial sea, contiguous zone, exclusive economic zone, and continental shelf.

The internal waters, as defined in the measure, are waters inside the archipelagic baselines not forming part of archipelagic waters, such as lakes and rivers. These also include waters inside the territorial sea baselines of areas outside the archipelagic baselines.

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The archipelagic baselines, or the edges of the Philippines archipelago, are defined under Republic Act 9522.

Archipelagic waters refer to the waters inside the archipelagic baselines, while territorial sea is the adjacent sea measured 12 nautical miles from its baselines.

The contiguous zone refers to the waters adjacent to the territorial sea and up to the 24 nautical miles from the territorial sea baselines. Here, the government can exercise control to prevent violations of its customs, fiscal, immigration or sanitary laws and regulations within its territory or territorial sea.

Also defined under the measure is the EEZ or Exclusive Economic Zone, which covers waters adjacent to the territorial sea and up to 200 nautical miles from the territorial sea baselines. In this zone, the Philippines can explore, exploit, conserve and manage its natural resources, establish artificial islands, conduct marine research, among others.

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The country’s continental shelf comprises the seabed and subsoil of the submarine areas that extend beyond the EEZ where the Philippines can explore and exploit mineral and petroleum resources, conduct installations, drilling, tunneling and other rights.

Other rights not included in the measure will be exercised in accordance to Philippine and international laws, primarily the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and the 2016 arbitral victory of the Philippines against China, the measure read.

When these maritime zones overlap with those of a neighboring country, the common boundaries will have to be determined by an agreement with that state, it added.

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