‘Other nations expected to comply with proposed PH maritime zones law’
MANILA, Philippines – If the Philippines enacts a law defining its maritime zones, then other countries, including claimants in the South China Sea, are expected to respect and comply with it, two government officials said on Monday.
Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra said the proposed law is “essentially a reflection of the relevant provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos).”
“And therefore, if we have a law like this which is essentially a reflection of an international convention where the members comprised practically the entire international community, there ’s an expectation of an obligation on the part of these member states to comply with our own laws since these are, as I said, a reflection essentially of an international convention of which they are members,” Guevarra said.
He was responding to queries of Senator Francis Tolentino during the hearing of the Senate special panel on Philippine maritime and admiralty zones.
The committee led by Tolentino has been tasked to deliberate on several measures establishing the Philippine maritime jurisdiction.
Guevarra pointed out that the measure, if enacted into law, would then become the country’s “domestic version of our international agreement.”
The Philippine Coast Guard, meanwhile, believes the passage of a maritime zones law, will further strengthen the country’s stand on its waters being claimed by other nations.
“With respect to the incident that happened on Ayungin Shoal, which falls within the exclusive economic zone of our country, I think the passage of a maritime zones (law) would clearly strengthen our defined zones in our maritime jurisdiction,” said PCG spokesperson for the West Philippine Sea Commodore Jay Tarriela.
Two Chineses vessels on Sunday hit two Philippine boats that were on a regular resupply mission to the BRP Sierra Madre on Ayungin Shoal.
Like Guevarra, Tarriela also believes that other countries in the region and claimant states in the South China Sea would be obliged to respect a Philippine maritime zones law.
“But of course that’s a belief that we’d like to carry on,” he said.
“But obviously there are some states who would choose not to respect the provisions of the international law particularly the Unclos so I don’t want to be that pessimistic to argue that all of the countries would respect our maritime zones even if we’re going to pass our maritime zones,” the PCG official added