The Aquino government is looking to enact at least 18 priority measures before the end of current Sixteenth Congress. According to Presidential Legislative Liaison Office, among the priority are acts that will determine maritime zones and sea lanes.
The Philippine Maritime Zone bill, as filed in the House of Representative, specifically determines territorial sea, contiguous zone, exclusive economic zone and continental shelf.
“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,” says in the bill.
If enacted, the Philippine Archipelagic Sea Lane Act will prohibit foreign research and survey ships from conducting oceanographic research or hydrographic surveys, unless given permission by the government.
The Archipelagic Sea Lane Act will further protect country’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and political independence based on international law.