Sotto files bill pushing for map defining Philippines’ maritime zones
MANILA, Philippines — Senate President Vicente Sotto III filed a bill Wednesday proposing the creation of a map of the Philippines’ maritime areas–similar to China’s nine-dash line map–which will define the maritime zones under the country’s jurisdiction.
In filing Senate Bill No. 2289, Sotto said the move seeks to preserve and protect the country’s sovereign rights to carry out marine and maritime activities in the disputed waters in the West Philippine Sea.
“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 in a statement.
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 bill declares that “maritime zones of the Philippines comprise the internal waters, archipelagic waters, territorial sea, contiguous zone, exclusive economic zone and continental shelf.”
Further, the bill 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 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and other existing laws and treaties.
Any infringement committed within the country’s territory or territorial sea shall be punished, Sotto’s proposal states.
“All territories of the Philippines shall generate their respective maritime zones in accordance with internal law,” the measure states.
The bill defines internal waters as those 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. Meanwhile, archipelagic waters refer to the waters on the landward side of the archipelagic baselines.
Furthermore, the bill defines the territorial sea of the Philippines as 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.
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