Primer on Philippine maritime areas

I am pleased   to send  herewith a  copy  of  the  “Primer”  I prepared   on  “The  Ocean  Space   or  The  Maritime   Area  of  the Philippines  (Including  the Seabed  and Subsoil  and  their  Air Space under the Law of the Sea Convention  [particularly Part IV], the Philippine  Constitution  and Relevant Laws)”.

The Primer is intended to inform of the maritime areas over which the Philippines  has  sovereignty,  sovereign  rights  or jurisdiction, principally its territorial sea, the contiguous zone, its exclusive economic zone and the continental shelf.  For convenient reference, the pertinent provisions of the Law of the Sea Convention (LOSC),  the   Philippine Constitutions   and   relevant   statutes   are quoted.

Far too frequently opinions and views are expressed,  not in accord even with explicit provisions  of the LOSC.  A recent example are views on the Benham Rise, a part of the extended continental shelf of the Philippines.

It was my privilege  to  have  been  a  vice chairman of  the Philippine delegation  to the Law of the Sea Conference,  initially in the  Seabed  Committee, which  convened in 1968,  and  in the  United Nations  Conference  on  the Law  of  the  Sea,  which   convened  in December 1973.   The Law of the Sea Convention was adopted by the United Nations in 1982, and it entered into force in 1994.

Some observations are made on the Arbitral Award  on  the Philippine Claim  of  July 12, 2016, particularly  in  relation   to  the tensions  in  the  South  China  Sea  and  how  the  administration of President  Duterte  is addressing  its enforcement  and overall relationship with China.

It is my hope that the Primer will contribute to a more enlightened and   productive exchange of   views   in   regard the problems  facing   the  Philippines  in  protecting  and  enhancing  its rights over the maritime areas over which it has sovereignty or jurisdiction.

Estelito P. Mendoza



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