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  • Writer's pictureARS Editorial Staff

MZ Bill: Passed on its 3rd Reading

Waypoints extends its heartfelt congratulations to the Philippine Senate for its unwavering dedication to ensuring that the Philippines is able to sustainably utilize its maritime resources, to protect its maritime domain, and to preserve its use and enjoyment to exclusively benefit the Filipino people. Furthermore, the bipartisan support for the bill highlights its alignment with the interest of all Filipinos to protect and further harness the country’s maritime domain.

With the passage of the Maritime Zones Act on the 3rd reading, the Philippines is a step closer to passing a foundational legislation that will clarify the country’s geographical jurisdiction.Its enactment will also enable the Philippines’ ability to fully enforce applicable maritime laws and enjoy its rights over its territory and exclusive economic zone and pave the way for clarifying and updating relevant maritime laws and policies that have been enacted prior to UNCLOS.

In his speech, Senator Francis Tolentino showed his appreciation and gratitude to all of the members and stakeholders who took part in the passage of the bill, giving special mention to Filipino fishermen for entrusting the responsibility of safeguarding our maritime domain to the Senate. He further underscored how the Maritime Zones Act will serve as a cornerstone of the Philippines' maritime policies, protecting our sovereignty, promoting sustainable development, and securing our future prosperity.

“Nakatatak na po sa kasaysayan ang Philippine Maritime Zones Law na magiging Bantayog ng ating Kalayaan. Let us celebrate this momentous occasion with a renewed sense of purpose and determination to continue working for the betterment of our beloved country.”

Senator Joel Villanueva and Senator Ramon Bong Revilla echoed Senator Tolentino’s sentiments. In addition Senator Villanueva noted that, “Binibigyang diin po at ngipin ng panukalang batas na ito ang intergridad ng ating territoryo na kinikilala ng United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea o UNCLOS, at ang makasaysayang tagumpay natin sa Permanent Court of Arbitration sa Hague noong 2016.”

Senator Revilla further emphasized the role of the Maritime Zones Act for the Philippines, “sa pamamagitan ng panukalang ito na pasado na rin sa House of Representatives, hindi lamang winawagayway ang ating watawat, ipinagdidiinan din natin ang ating mga prinsipyo at paninindigan.”

Waypoints Senior Adviser Professor Jay Batongbacal also underscored how the bill can help secure our maritime space and further enhance international cooperation, “the enactment of the Maritime Zone law marks a significant milestone in the country’s long and difficult quest toward effectively managing our seas. Foreign States will be obliged to ensure that their flag vessels comply with the laws and regulations of the country enacted in accordance with international law. This enables us to secure international cooperation in the conservation and management of our inter-island and offshore waters.”

Likewise, Waypoints Senior Adviser Mr. Julio Amador highlighted that, “the passage of the Maritime Zones Act is national policy 40 years in the making; since UNCLOS was adopted, the Philippines needed to align its national laws with international norms and laws. This historic act underscores the Philippines’ commitment to defend its rights in its waters. This is an act of sovereignty by Congress. The House of Representatives have been steadfast in passing the bill and should be commended; the Senate’s efforts are equally worthy of commendation. I hope President Marcos can sign the bill into law the soonest.”

In closing, it is also with great hope that the bicameral session of the Senate and the House of Representatives will progress smoothly considering the necessity and importance of the Maritime Zones Act in securing the Philippines’ maritime domain.


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