Press Release
June 6, 2021

SP Sotto on SB 2289/Maritime zones

SENATE President Vicente Sotto III today proposed that the government come up with a map of the country's maritime areas and define the maritime zones under its jurisdiction to preserve and protect the Philippines' sovereign rights to carry out marine and maritime activities in the disputed waters.

In filing Senate Bill No. 2289, Sotto said: "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."

Among others, 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 proposal, the Senate leader said, would "preserve and protect the country's maritime rights" and at the same time "preclude any unwarranted and undesirable dispute with other nations involving our maritime areas."

SB 2289 declares that "maritime zones of the Philippines comprise the internal waters, archipelagic waters, territorial sea, contiguous zone, exclusive economic zone and continental shelf." "All territories of the Philippines shall generate their respective maritime zones in accordance with internal law," the proposal said.

The internal waters mentioned in the measure refers to waters 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. Archipelagic waters refer to the waters on the landward side of the archipelagic baselines.

The bill likewise states that the territorial sea of the Philippines refers to 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.

In this zone, proposed SB 2289 says the government would exercise control to prevent infringement of its customs, fiscal, immigration or sanitary laws and regulations within its territory or territorial sea; and punish any infringement committed within its territory or territorial sea.

Also in the measure is the definition of the country's continental shelf, which comprises the seabed and subsoil of the submarine areas that extend beyond its territorial sea.

The proposal 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 UNCLOS and other existing laws and treaties."

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