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House approves bill declaring PH maritime zones

/ 04:56 PM December 06, 2021
House approves bill declaring PH maritime zones

West Philippine Sea: On July 12, 2016, the United Nations-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague ruled in favor of the Philippines, invalidating China’s claim of historic rights to resources within the South China Sea within its “nine-dash line.” INQUIRER FILES

MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives on Monday approved on final reading a measure proclaiming maritime zones under the jurisdiction of the Philippines.

With 189 affirmative votes, the lower chamber approved House Bill No. 9981 or the Philippine Maritime Zones Act which aims 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.

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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 House Bill No. 9981, maritime zones include internal waters, archipelagic waters, territorial sea, contiguous zone, exclusive economic zone, and continental shelf.

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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.

House committee on foreign affairs chair Rep. Ann Hofer said the approval of the measure marks an important step towards consolidating the country’s maritime jurisdiction as declared in the historic Permanent Court of Arbitration ruling in July 2016.

READ: PH wins arbitration case over South China Sea

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.

READ: China Coast Guard ‘blocked and water cannoned’ PH supply boats in WPS

No one was hurt from the incident, but the boats had to initially abort their mission.

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TAGS: House Bill No. 9981, House of Representatives, Legislation, maritime zone, Philippine Maritime Zones Act
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