Constitution: South China Sea and Territorial Sea Essay

“We, the sovereign Filipino people, imploring the aid of Almighty God, in order to build a just and humane society and establish a government that shall embody our ideals and aspirations, promote the common good, conserve and develop our patrimony and secure to ourselves and our posterity the blessings of independence and democracy under the rule of law and a regime of truth, justice, freedom, love, equality, and peace, do ordain and promulgate this Constitution.

” ARTICLE 1 NATIONAL TERRITORY Section I: The National Territory comprises the Philippine Archipelago, with all the islands and waters embraced therein, and all other territories over which the Philippines has sovereignty or jurisdiction, consisting of t its terrestrial, fluvial, and aerial domains, including its territorial seas, the seabed, the subsoil, the insular shelves, and other submarine areas. The waters around, between, and connecting the islands of the archipelago, regardless of their breadth and dimensions, form part of the internal waters of the Philippines.Necessity of Constitutional Provision on National Territory 1.

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Binding force of such provision under international law – There is no rule in international law which requires a State to define its territorial boundaries in its Constitution. The reason is that with or without such a provision, a State under international law has the unquestioned right to assert jurisdiction throughout the extent of its territory. 2. Value of provision defining our national territory – it is important to define as precisely as possible our national territory for the purpose of making known to the world the areas over which we assert title or ownership to avoid future conflicts with other nations.As sovereign state, the Philippines can promulgate and enforce laws within our country. Every power is excluded from exercising dominion or jurisdiction without the consent of the Philippines. International law recognizes the supreme authority of every state within its territory, although foreign sovereigns and diplomatic envoys are entitled to exemption from local civil and criminal jurisdiction.

3. Acquisition of other territories – the definition of our national territory in our Constitution does not prevent the Philippines from acquiring other territories in the future through any of the means (e. . purchase, exchange, etc. ) sanctioned by international law. National Territory of the Philippines 1. The Philippine archipelago with all the islands and waters embraced therein; Archipelago – derived from Greek word pelages meaning “sea.

” It has been defined as a sea or part of a sea studded with islands, often synonymous with island groups, or a large group of islands in an extensive body of water, such as sea. It includes both sea and islands which geographically may be considered as an independent whole. 2. All other territories over which the Philippines has sovereignty or jurisdiction;3. The terrestrial, fluvial and aerial domains including the territorial sea, the seabed, the subsoil, the insular shelves, and other submarine areas thereof; and 4. The internal waters – the waters around, between, and connecting the islands of the archipelago, regardless of their breadth and dimensions.

Other territories over which the Philippines has sovereignty or jurisdiction 1. The phrase “all the other territories belonging to the Philippines by historic right or legal title” in the former provision was amended as indicated above.The phrase acquired a definite meaning in the 1973 Constitution as a cover – all for pending Philippine claim to Sabah (formerly North Boromeo) against Malaysia and the possible claim to the so- called Freedomland (a group of islands known as “Spratley” islands in the South China sea) and the Marianas Islands, including Guam (which according to historical documents were under the control of the civil and ecclesiastical authorities in the Philippines during the Spanish Regime), or any other territory over which the Philippines may in the future find it has a right to claim. . The deletion, however, of words “by historic right or legal title” is not to be construed as precluding future claims by the Philippines to areas over which it does not actually exercise sovereignty. The change is designed to improve our relations with Malaysia while allowing flexibility in pursuing the Sabah claim. Other areas included in the Philippine archipelago. 1.

Territorial sea – part of the sea extending 12 nautical miles (19 kms. ) from the low – watermark. It also called the “marginal sea’, the “marginal belt”, or the “marine belt”2. The seabed (or sea floor or sea bottom) – refers to the land that holds the sea, lying beyond the seashore, including mineral and natural resources; 3. The Subsoil – refers to everything beneath the surface soil and the seabed, including mineral and natural resources; 4. Insular shelves (or continental shelves) – the submerged portions of a continent or offshore island, which slope gently seaward from the low waterline to a point where a substantial break in grade occurs, at which point the bottom slopes seaward at a considerable increase in slope until the great ocean depths are reached; and 5.

Other submarine areas – refer to all areas under the territorial sea. Among oceanographic terms used are seamount, trough, trench, basin, deep, bank, shoal, and reef. Three – fold division of navigable waters.

From the standpoint of international law, the waters of the earth are divided into: 1. Inland or internal waters – parts of the sea within the land territory; considered in the same light as rivers, canals, and lakes within the land territory of the state; sometimes called “national waters”2. Territorial sea – belt of water outside and parallel to the coastline or to the outer limits of the inland or internal waters; and 3.

High or open seas – waters that lie seaward of the territorial sea Jurisdiction over navigable waters The inland or internal waters and the territorial sea together comprise what is generally known as territorial waters of state. Over these waters, a state exercise sovereignty to the same extent as its land territory but foreign vessels have the right of innocent passage through the territorial sea.On the other hand, the open seas are international waters which mean that they are not subject to the sovereignty of any state but every state has equal right of use in them. The archipelagic concept or principle of territoriality The use of word “archipelago” in Article 1 is intended to project the idea that the Philippines is an archipelago (a state composed of number of slands) and bolster the archipelagic concept (or archipelagic doctrine) which the Philippines, together with Indonesia and other archipelago states had espoused in international conferences on the Law of the Sea.

By this concept is meant that an archipelago shall be regarded as a single unit, so that the waters around, between, and connecting the islands of the archipelago, irrespective of their breadth and dimensions, form part of the internal waters of the state, subject to its exclusive sovereignty.


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