Urgent: PH needs to have maritime zones law – Tolentino | Global News

Urgent: PH needs to have maritime zones law – Tolentino

/ 10:36 PM October 23, 2023

Francis Tolentino

Sen. Francis Tolentino (File photo from Senate Public Relations and Information Bureau)

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines needs to have a maritime zones law now — more than ever, Sen. Francis Tolentino said on Monday during the continuation of a Senate hearing on the issue.

Tolentino made the remark after a recent incident in the West Philippine Sea in which a China Coast Guard vessel rammed a Philippine Navy ship.


“This is urgent because it is needed. This was needed five years ago, 10 years ago, or 15 years ago. So we have to pass this,” he said.


Tolentino, chair of the Committee on Admiralty and Maritime Zones, asked government officials at the hearing how passing such a law could help the country deal with continuing incursions in its territory.

“The passage of a maritime zone would really strengthen our defined zones in our maritime jurisdiction,” Commodore Jay Tarriela, the Philippine Coast Guard spokesperson on the West Philippine Sea, said.

Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra also answered, saying: “These are the laws of the coastal state and, therefore, all the flag states with vessels plying, for example, our maritime waters, would have also a duty to comply [with] enacted laws by the coastal state like the Philippines.”

Tolentino earlier said that a bill on maritime zones could be the basis for creating an updated Philippine map that would counter China’s 10-dash line claim.

The measure also seeks to clarify the geographical extent of the Philippine maritime domain and at the same time clarify the legal powers that the Philippines may exercise over it.

According to Tolentino, a technical working group will be convened to refine the bill in early November. He said this would enable both the Senate and House of Representatives to tackle the measure.

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TAGS: China incursions, Francis Tolentino, maritime dispute, PH-China Relations, West Philippine Sea

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