Tolentino stresses need for PH Maritime Zone law, says it's long overdue

Sen. Francis “Tol” N. Tolentino underscored on Wednesday, Sept. 6, the need for the country to have its own maritime zone law to assert its territory.

Senate Blue Ribbon Committee chair Senator Francis Tolentino answers the members of the media during the weekly "Kapihan sa Manila Bay" forum at Cafe Adriatico in Malate, Manila, September 6, 2023. Tolentino addressed the issues regarding the Philippines' maritime concerns which he said should be brought up in more forums. (Arnold Quizol)


During the Kapihan sa Manila Bay, Tolentino said that it's long overdue, stating that 152 countries already have maritime zone laws. 

"Ang Pilipinas na napapalibutan ng dagat, wala (The Philippines which is surrounded by water, has none),” he said.

According to Tolentino, his Senate Bill No. 2294 or the Philippine Maritime Zones Act will be the priority of the Senate Special Committee on Maritime and Admiralty Zones, which he chairs.

“The Maritime Zones bill will establish the exact boundaries of the Republic of the Philippines. Hindi kasi alam kung hanggang saan ang ating continental shelf, territorial sea. Hindi maliwanag kung hanggang saan ang muhon ng ating Exclusive Economic Zone," the solon said.

He added that the panel is also set to craft a measure on the archipelagic sea lanes, which will designate routes for local and international maritime vehicles that will not violate the United Nations Law of the Sea.

Further, he shared that the first committee hearing of the Senate Special Committee on Maritime and Admiralty Zones will be held next week.  It will tackle the maritime zone bill and hear the insights of various local and foreign experts on maritime zone laws.