‘China’s opposition won’t deter PH from implementing maritime zones law’

April 23, 2024 People's Tonight 78 views

EVEN with China’s opposition to the Philippine Maritime Zones Law, which awaits President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s signature, Sen. Francis “Tol” Tolentino, its author, said the Philippines would not be deterred from implementing it.

“It (PH Maritime Zones Law) demonstrates our domestic implementation of the arbitral ruling. China has been saying you cannot implement that. Enacting that law demonstrates that we can implement it,” Tolentino asserted.

He said it demarcates the Philippines’ territorial maritime boundaries, the end of its territorial sea, the beginning of its contiguous zone, and the end of its seabed in so far as the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) is concerned.

“So it demonstrates to the whole world that we are a law-abiding member of the community of nations and respect our rights. And our obligation, part of our obligation under UNCLOS, is to have that maritime zones law, similar to what Indonesia needs,” Tolentino explained.

He shared that the passage of the maritime zones law is not the end since another law, the archipelagic sea lane law, must be promulgated. He added that it will determine where domestic and foreign ships pass as they cross the Philippine archipelagic waters.

“So, all of this would show that the Philippines is reasserting, complying, and mindful of the rights of the other members of the international community. Remember, China is a signatory to the United Nations Con on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS),” Tolentino stated.

He further explained that the maritime zones law adopts what the UNCLOS states: that the Philippines has sovereign rights. In simple terms, Filipinos can fish within the EEZ, have domain over the sea bed and the subsurface, and explore, exploit, and conduct scientific activities.