House approves on 2nd reading bill declaring PH maritime zones
MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives on Monday approved on second reading a bill seeking to declare maritime zones under the jurisdiction of the Philippines.
Via voice voting, the lower chamber approved House Bill No. 9981 or the Philippine Maritime Zones Act which seeks to declare the maritime zones of the country in order to establish the legal bases by which social, economic, commercial, and other activities may be conducted.
The measure aims to provide flexibility in enacting laws pertinent to the rights and obligations that the Philippines can exercise over its maritime zones.
Under the bill, maritime zones include internal waters, archipelagic waters, territorial sea, contiguous zone, exclusive economic zone, and continental shelf.
The measure likewise provides for the sovereign rights over these maritime zones, thus establishing the Philippines’ exclusive rights to explore and exploit living and nonliving resources found in these zones, in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and other treaties.
Recently, the China Coast Guard vessels “blocked and water cannoned” Philippine supply boats on a resupply mission to BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin (Second Thomas) Shoal in the West Philippine Sea.
No one was hurt from the incident, but the boats had to initially abort their mission.
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