All artificial isles ‘owned’ by PH under Senate maritime bill

all artificial isles ‘owned’ by ph under senate maritime bill

All artificial isles ‘owned’ by PH under Senate maritime bill

Amid China’s growing aggression in the West Philippine Sea, the Senate on Monday approved on third and final reading the proposed Philippine Maritime Zones Act, which defines Filipinos’ rights over the country’s waters and undersea features—including all artificial islands.

At a press briefing, the bill sponsor, Sen. Francis Tolentino, said that under Senate Bill (SB) No. 2492, all artificial islands within the country’s 370-kilometer exclusive economic zone (EEZ) “are owned” by the Philippines.

“Even if we were not the one who built the [artificial islands] as long as it is within our EEZ, it’s ours,” he said.

Such provision is not included in the version of the bill passed by the House of Representatives in May last year, the senator noted.

Tolentino acknowledged that the proposed bill “might deter but it will not prevent the harassment being done by China right now.”

“But it will show our compliance with the law of the sea, arbitral ruling, maritime law. If we will pass this maritime zones law, it will prove that we have right over that maritime area. Whoever will not recognize that will have to face accountability. We can file a case… I believe the entire global community is supportive,” he said.

Significant milestone

Tolentino, chair of the Senate special committee on maritime and admiralty zones, said the passage of the measure marked a “significant milestone” for the country.

“Whatever happens at Bajo de Masinloc, whatever happens to West Philippine Sea, whatever happens to Benham Rise, the Philippine maritime zones law is now etched in our history, and will symbolize our freedom,” he said during plenary session.

Tolentino described SB 2492 as a landmark piece of legislation that establishes the Philippine Maritime Zones, in compliance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the 2016 arbitral

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