Eleazar backs bill defining PH maritime zones

Published December 8, 2021, 6:21 PM

by Aaron Recuenco 

Retired police general and senatorial aspirant Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar has expressed support to the decision of the House of Representatives to pass on third and final reading House Bill No. 9981 which seeks to define the maritime zones that are under the jurisdiction of the Philippines.

Eleazar said defining the Philippines’ maritime zones will help the government assert the country’s sovereignty in its territorial waters especially as tension in the West Philippine Sea flared up recently due to a close encounter in Ayungin Shoal.

“I laud and support this proposed measure that was recently approved by the lower chamber of Congress. This is a huge step in the Philippine government’s continuous efforts to assert our sovereign rights in our territory without the need to fire a shot,” Eleazar said.

Eleazar, who retired as chief of the Philippine National Police, is the first senatorial aspirant for the 2022 elections to go to the disputed Pagasa Island in the West Philippine Sea last month.

He said clarifying the country’s maritime zones will send a strong message to the international community that it can find an equilibrium in defending its territory while maintaining its good diplomatic relations with nations that have similar claims within the country’s borders.

Under the proposed legislation, the Philippines’ maritime zones include internal waters, archipelagic waters, territorial sea, contiguous zone, exclusive economic zone, and continental shelf.

He also promised to push for measures that will allow the Philippines to freely explore living and non-living resources found in the maritime zones.