Senate okays PH-Indonesia pact on maritime boundaries

MANILA The Senate on Monday passed on third reading a resolution concurring in the ratification of the agreement on the boundary line that delimits the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the Philippines and Indonesia.

With 20 affirmative votes and no negative vote, the upper chamber passed Senate Resolution 1048, which expresses concurrence in the "Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Philippines and the Government of the Republic of Indonesia Concerning the Delimitation of the Exclusive Economic Zone Boundary".

Senator Loren Legarda, chair of the Senate committee on foreign relations, said both the Philippines and Indonesia are state parties to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which gave parties entitlements to a 200 nautical mile EEZ for utilization of living and non-living resources.

Legarda, however, noted that both countries have overlapping EEZs in Mindanao Sea and Celebes Sea and in the southern section of the Philippine Sea in the Pacific Ocean and that the delimitation or division of the overlapping EEZ of opposite states shall be settled by an agreement on the basis of international law in order to achieve an equitable solution.

"Pursuant to UNCLOS, the Philippines and Indonesia conducted a series of negotiations to delimit their overlapping EEZs and embody the results of the negotiations in an agreement. After more than 20 years, the Philippines and Indonesia reached an equitable solution and agreed on a single EEZ boundary line to delimit the overlapping EEZs," Legarda said.

Legarda said with a clearly demarcated EEZ boundary, Filipino fishing vessels and fishermen will be able to operate and undertake livelihood activities in the country's EEZ knowing where the Indonesian EEZ begins.

Furthermore, law enforcement authorities of both countries will know the maximum extent of their respective jurisdictions where they are mandated to implement laws, rules and regulations on environmental protection and maritime security, she noted.

"This Agreement is a significant contribution to the best practices and efforts towards building a peaceful regional community which we are all aiming for as one ASEAN," Legarda said. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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