Atty. Gilbert G.B. Asuque

29 Jul 2021

"Do we need “fences” around the Philippine archipelago? Is this the right way forward
as what Robert Frost, in his 1914 poem Mending Wall, suggested by sharing a relevant
message for our time that: “Good fences make good neighbors”?" opens Atty. Asuque.

Amb. Gilberto G.B. Asuque, former Permanent Representative to the IMO, parses through law, policies, jurisprudence, and history to make the case that the Philippines need to develop a Maritime Zones Law.

In the first and second chapters of the Primer, Amb. Asuque scrutinizes the Philippines' long maritime history from the colonial period up until the present time. History informs what many policymakers determine as the 'Philippine Treaty Limits'.

The third chapter examines the Arbitral ruling's impact on the fate and destiny of the Philippines as a maritime nation. Amb. Asuque looks at the merit and jurisdiction of the Arbitral ruling and how it should strengthen, more than weaken, the Philippines' stake over its maritime zones.

Lastly, the fourth chapter proposes policy recommendations in moving forward with historical and legal posture. He recommends three simple but effective steps:

1. Define and delineate the Philippines' maritime zones
2. Designate Archipelagic Sea Lanes in Philippine archipelagic waters
3. Work together - cross-sector and cross-industry - to secure Philippine maritime zones

The Primer is a timely contribution to building a narrative that strengthens the case for a maritime nation. Amb. Asuque, clear and vocal as he speaks, strongly argues for the civic duty that is securing Philippine maritime zones. Doing so will preserve the national interest and welfare of future generations of Filipinos.

Working Together To Secure Our Seas: A Primer on Philippine Maritime Zones