Under the UNCLOS, the Philippines is entitled to its own territorial sea of 12 nautical miles from its baselines

, a contiguous zone of an additional 12 nautical miles, an exclusive economic zone of 200 nautical miles, and an extended continental shelf of up to 350 nautical miles. The Philippines is a signatory to the convention, but among many things it still has to do is pass a law delineating its baselines from which all those maritime zones defined in the UNCLOS are to be measured TERMS DEFINED: Territorial waters used to extend only to some three nautical miles (six kilometers) from shore, which was the range of a cannon shot then. That was the sea frontage that a state was believed capable of defending from shore. In modern times, however, the “12-mile limit” has become almost universally accepted, especially with the adoption of the UNCLOS in 1982. Let me recap the terms used in the UNCLOS starting from inland going out to sea: * Internal waters – Bodies of water inside the country over which the state has complete jurisdiction. These include lakes, rivers and “archipelagic waters” between the islands. Even innocent passage by foreign vessels is not allowed. * Territorial waters or territorial sea – The belt of coastal waters extending 12 nautical miles from the baseline of the coast. The territorial sea is the sovereign territory of the state, although foreign military and civilian ships are allowed innocent passage. Sovereignty also extends to the airspace over and seabed below it. * Contiguous zone – An additional 12-nautical mile band of water from the outer edge of the territorial sea, to up to 24 nautical miles (44 km) from the baseline. The state can enforce limited control for preventing or punishing “infringement of its customs, fiscal, immigration or sanitary laws and regulations within its territory or territorial sea.” (Considering the vast oceans fronting it, the US declared its contiguous zone on Sept. 24, 1999.) * Exclusive economic zone – Farther out, this extends for 200 nautical miles (370 km) beyond the baselines of the territorial sea. It includes the territorial sea and its contiguous zone. (A coastal nation has control over all economic resources within its exclusive economic zone, including fishing, mining and oil exploration. But it cannot regulate or ban passage, innocent or belligerent, beyond its territorial sea). * Continental shelf – This extends out to the state’s continental margin, at least 200 nautical miles (370 km) from the baselines of its territorial sea. The state has control over all resources on or under its continental shelf, but none over any living organisms above the shelf beyond its exclusive economic zone. Article 47, UNCLOS • archipelagic State may draw straight archipelagic baselines joining the outermost points of the outermost islands and drying reefs of the archipelago provided that within such baselines are included the main islands and an area in which the ratio of the area of the water to the area of the land, including atolls, is between 1 to 1 and 9 to 1 • length of such baselines shall not exceed 100 nautical miles, except that up to 3 per cent of the total number of baselines enclosing any archipelago may exceed that length, up to a maximum length of 125 nautical miles; • drawing of such baselines shall not depart to any appreciable extent from the general configuration of the archipelago;

including that part of a steep-sided oceanic plateau which is enclosed or nearly enclosed by a chain of limestone islands and drying reefs lying on the perimeter of the plateau. The baseline is the boundary from which a nation may begin measurements to determine the portion of the adjacent oceans or continental shelf over which it may exercise sovereignty. Article 121.• Such baselines shall not be drawn to and from low-tide elevations. • (7) For the purpose of computing the ratio of water to land under paragraph 1. Detailed explanations of how baselines are determined are provided in Articles 5-7 and 9-14. Regime of Islands principle allows a different legal treatment for the purpose of the baselines. • (6) If a part of the archipelagic waters of an archipelagic State lies between two parts of an immediately adjacent neighboring State. UNCLOS • with respect to the “other islands” which do not geographically form an integral part of the archipelago. land areas may include waters lying within the fringing reefs of islands and atolls. • (8)The baselines drawn in accordance with this article shall be shown on charts of a scale or scales adequate for ascertaining their position. existing rights and all other legitimate interests which the latter State has traditionally exercised in such waters and all rights stipulated by agreement between those States shall continue and be respected. unless lighthouses or similar installations which are permanently above sea level have been built on them or where a low-tide elevation is situated wholly or partly at a distance not exceeding the breadth of the territorial sea from the nearest island (5) The system of such baselines shall not be applied by an archipelagic State in such a manner as to cut off from the high seas or the exclusive economic zone the territorial sea of another State. the baseline is the low-water line along the . Except in some special cases.

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