A historic maritime treaty between the Philippines and Indonesia that draws maritime boundary between the two countries may soon take effect after more than two decades of negotiations.
This after the Senate Foreign Relations sub-committee on the Philippines-Indonesia Delimitation of the Exclusive Economic Zone Boundary, chaired by Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. today agreed to endorse for concurrence of the entire chamber the historic maritime pact between the two countries.
Signed on May 23, 2014 after 20 years of negotiations, the treaty draws the boundary between the overlapping EEZ of the two countries, specifically in Mindanao Sea and Celebes Sea.
To be valid and effective it requires concurrence of at least 2/3 vote of all members of the Senate.
“This is a very important agreement with our neighbor, Indonesia. We will sponsor this for concurrence of the Senate as soon as possible,” said Marcos after a hearing of the sub-committee on the maritime treaty.
An EEZ is a sea zone defined under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) over which a state has special rights on exploration and use of marine resources. It stretches from the baseline out to 200 nautical miles.
It was Marcos who authored the UNCLOS-compliant Philippine Baselines Law (R.A. 9522) during his term as representative of the 2nd District of Ilocos Norte in the House of Representatives.
Marcos noted that a clear demarcation of the EEZ boundaries between the two countries would not only prevent conflict between Filipino and Indonesian fishermen but would also pave the way for closer cooperation in protection of marine environment, increased trade, and enhanced maritime security.
“The valuable experience we had in conducting years of negotiation with Indonesia provides us with a roadmap on how to resolve our maritime territorial dispute with other countries, particularly the one with China in the West Philippine Sea” Marcos added.
Marcos has been urging the government to exhaust all diplomatic efforts to resolve the row with Beijing, including bilateral and multi-lateral talks, back-door channels, as well as cultural and educational exchanges to ease the relations between the two countries strained by the maritime territorial row.
Representatives from concerned departments of the government, such as Foreign Affairs, Defense, Energy, Environment and Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Transportation and Communications posed no objection to the PH-Indonesia maritime agreement.