The legal status of the Philippine Treaty Limits and territorial waters claim in international law: national and international legal perspectives

02/2008; 5.

ABSTRACT The fundamental position of the Philippines regarding the extent of its territorial and maritime boundaries is based on two contentious premises: first, that the limits of its national territory are the boundaries laid down in the Treaty of Paris which ceded the Philippines from Spain to the United States; and second, that all the waters embraced within these delineated lines seaward of the baselines constitute its territorial waters.
The position of the Philippine Government is contested in the international community and runs against rules in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which the Philippines signed and ratified. This situation poses two fundamental unresolved issues of conflict: first, is the issue on the breadth of its territorial sea, and second, its treatment of supposed archipelagic waters as internal waters. The twin issues of the legal status of the Philippine Treaty Limits and its extensive historic claims to territorial waters have been subject of much academic debate and serious criticisms.
The delimitation of Philippine territorial and maritime boundaries in conformity with international law necessitates the reform of the existing national legal, policy and administrative framework to resolve fundamental issues of conflict between domestic legislation and international law. This thesis, proceeding from both a national and an international legal perspective, clarifies the legal status of the Philippine Treaty Limits and territorial waters claim in international law, with a view to facilitating such reforms.

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    ABSTRACT: This contribution reviews the overall situation in the South China Sea (SCS) be-tween 2000 and June 2002. A number of important new developments and policy events have occurred during this period, including: the expansion of India's military presence from the Indian Ocean into the SCS; the efforts taken by Japan to promote cooperation in the SCS to deal with maritime security issues; the increase of mili-tary exercises conducted by both the claimants and nonclaimants in the SCS; the improvement of diplomatic relationships among the claimants, in particular, between China and the member states of ASEAN; the election of George W. Bush as U.S. President; the EP-3 incident and the September 11 terrorist attacks. These develop-ments and events have the potential to affect peace and stability in the SCS. The changing security configuration of the SCS and possible responses of the claimants to the new strategic framework after the September 11 terrorist attacks, as well as their implications for managing potential conflicts in the SCS, are discussed.
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    ABSTRACT: Illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing is a global fishing concern considered as one of the obstacles in achieving sustainable fisheries. In the Philippines, IUU fishing is known to undermine national efforts related to the conservation and management of fisheries resources. International fisheries instruments, particularly the International Plan of Action to Prevent, Deter, and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (IPOA-IUU), recognises the increasing concern on IUU fishing and calls on States to adopt measures that would effectively address the problem.This thesis examines the adequacy of the Philippine legal, policy, and institutional framework to combat IUU fishing. It analyses the definition of IUU fishing provided under the IPOA-IUU and assesses how such definition applies within the Philippine context. The measures adopted in international fisheries instruments to address the problem are also examined. From the analysis, three sets of criteria are formulated to measure the adequacy of the Philippine framework to combat IUU fishing. The first set of criteria involve the application of flag and coastal State measures; the second relate to the application of port and market-related measures; while the third entail the adoption of “all State” responsibilities.It is concluded that by failing to satisfy most of the criteria established under international fisheries instruments, the Philippines renders its legal, policy, and institutional framework inadequate to address IUU fishing. The major areas of inadequacy relate to the Philippine definition of IUU fishing, the measures adopted by the State to address the problem, and the corresponding institutional framework for fisheries management. The thesis also provides specific options for legislative and policy reforms that would address the gaps in the current national framework in order to effectively prevent, deter, and eliminate IUU fishing in the Philippines.
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