Marcos urged to certify bill defining PH maritime zone

December 1, 2023 Jester P. Manalastas 175 views

A House leader is urging President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to immediately certify the bill defining the country’s maritime zones as urgent.

Cagayan de Oro City Representative Rufus Rodriguez, chairman of the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments, said the Presidential certification of the measure will expedite its approval by the Senate and its final passage by the two chambers of Congress.

The House of Representatives had passed the proposed Philippine Maritime Zones Act in May this year, while the Senate is still tackling its version of the bill. Rodriguez is one of the principal authors of the House version.

“The urgency of enacting a law that defines our maritime areas, including our 200-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ), cannot be overemphasized in view of the aggressive activities of China in the West Philippine Sea and its continued encroachment on and intrusion into our EEZ,” Rodriguez said.

The veteran solon stressed that such a law would strengthen Philippine assertion and enforcement of its territorial and sovereign rights over its EEZ and the West Philippine Sea in accordance with international laws, agreements and conventions, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

He said UNCLOS allows states to definite their maritime boundaries.

He pointed out that the proposed Philippine Maritime Zones Act, when enacted, would serve as the framework for settling territorial disputes between the Philippines and its neighbors, including China, in addition to international laws and the 2016 ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, which invalidated Beijing’s expansive claims in the South China Sea.

“I am almost sure that we will soon have this law. This early, I am appealing to China to recognize it and to immediately stop encroaching and intruding in our EEZ and the West Philippine Sea,” he added.