House approves bill defining Philippine maritime zones on committee level

House Bill 4889, Philippine Maritime Zones Act, was approved on House of Representatives committee level Thursday, September 11.

Francisco Ashley L. Acedillo of Magdalo party-list, Rodolfo G. Biazon from Muntinlupa, Jose F. Zubiri III of Bukidnon 3rd district, and House committee on foreign affairs chairman Al Francis C. Bichara of Albay 2nd district introduced the bill.

“The passage of this proposed legislative measure aims to provide for the necessary flexibility in the enactment of subsequent laws pertinent to the rights and obligations to which the Philippines is entitled and may exercise over its maritime zones in accordance with the UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea),” as introduced by four lawmakers.

The bill says Philippine maritime zones include internal waters, archipelagic waters, territorial sea, contiguous zone, exclusive economic zone and continental shelf.

The bill states that 12 nautical miles from the baseline or low-water line will be the country’s territorial sea, for contiguous zone – 24 nautical miles from the baseline, exclusive economic zone will be 200 nautical miles from the baseline, and for the continental shelf, 200 nautical miles from the baseline, including the seabed and subsoil of submarine areas.

“The Philippines shall exercise sovereign rights over this area, including the right to explore and exploit living and nonliving, organic and inorganic resources in accordance with the UNCLOS and other existing laws and treaties,” states in the proposed law.