Legarda Sponsors Senate Concurrence in PH-Indonesia Agreement on Maritime Boundaries; Senate Approves on 2nd Reading

May 29, 2019

Senator Loren Legarda, as Chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, sponsored on Tuesday the Senate Resolution concurring in the ratification of the “Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Philippines and the Government of the Republic of Indonesia Concerning the Delimitation of the Exclusive Economic Zone Boundary.”

The Senate has also approved the treaty on second reading.

Legarda said that both the Philippines and Indonesia are State Parties to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which gave parties entitlements to a 200 nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) for utilization of living and non-living resources.

The Senator, however, stated that both countries have overlapping EEZs in Mindanao Sea and Celebes Sea and in the southern section of the Philippine Sea in the Pacific Ocean and that the delimitation or division of the overlapping EEZ of opposite states shall be settled by an agreement on the basis of international law in order to achieve an equitable solution.

“Pursuant to UNCLOS, the Philippines and Indonesia conducted a series of negotiations to delimit their overlapping EEZs and embody the results of the negotiations in an agreement. After more than 20 years, the Philippines and Indonesia reached an equitable solution and agreed on a single EEZ boundary line to delimit the overlapping EEZs,” Legarda said.

Senator Legarda said that the Agreement, which went through a rules-based negotiation for a peaceful solution of maritime disputes, serves as a legally binding instrument to establish the boundary line that delimits the EEZ of both countries.

She also noted that the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Department of Agriculture (DA), the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Department of Transportation (DOTr), the Department of National Defense (DND), and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) have been consulted and have concurred in the ratification and concurrence of this Agreement.

“With a clearly demarcated EEZ boundary as guided by the official chart, Filipino fishing vessels and fishermen will be able to operate and undertake livelihood activities in our EEZ knowing where the Indonesian EEZ begins. Law enforcement authorities of both countries will now know the maximum extent of their respective jurisdictions where they are mandated to implement laws, rules and regulations on environmental protection and maritime security,” Legarda said.

“This Agreement is a significant contribution to the best practices and efforts towards building a peaceful regional community which we are all aiming for as one ASEAN,” Legarda concluded.