Con-com eyes inclusion of arbitral ruling on West PH Sea in new Charter
A sub-panel of the Consultative Committee (Con-com) is pushing to incorporate the favorable Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) ruling on the country’s rightful claims in the West Philippine Sea under the proposed federal constitution.
Fr. Ranhilio Aquino, a member of the sub-committee on the country’s national territory, said their proposed revision of Article 1 in the prevailing 1987 Constitution would give “constitutional status” to the PCA decision.
Aquino said their sub-committee is specifically proposing two sections under Article 1, which they would rename from “National Territory” to “Sovereignty Over Territory and Sovereign Rights.”
Among the prime considerations in drafting the proposed revision was that the article on national territory should be “in conformity” with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), he noted.
A draft of Section 1 under Article 1, Aquino said, stated that the Philippines “has sovereignty over islands and features outside its archipelagic baselines pursuant to the laws of the federal republic, the law of nations and the judgments of competent international courts OR tribunals.”
A draft of Section 2 under Article 1, meanwhile, stated that the country “has sovereign rights over that maritime expanse beyond its territorial sea to the extent reserved to it by international law, as well as over its extended continental shelf including the Philippine (Benham) Rise.”
“It gives constitutional status to the arbitral judgment. After all, it was a judgment that declared that we had certain rights that could not be trespassed,” Aquino told reporters in a press conference on Thursday.
Further, Aquino said that under the proposed revisions “the Philippines would be obligated to assert sovereign rights.”
The country’s foreign policy, however, would be left to the government, he said. /kga
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