Villanueva seeks creation of Special Committee on Philippine Maritime and Admiralty Zones

The Senate adopted a resolution which seeks to create a special Senate committee that will tackle proposed measures relating to maritime zones, baselines and archipelagic sea lanes and other matters incidental thereto to ensure protection of Philippine territory, food security, environmental protection, among others.

According to Adopted Senate Resolution No. 76 filed by Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva, the Special Committee on Philippine Maritime and Admiralty Zones  “shall have jurisdiction to study, hear, and report out all matters relating to baselines, maritime zones, archipelagic sea lanes and other matters incidental thereto.”

“As the Chairperson of the Committee on Rules, we must see to it that the Senate will act urgently to heed the call of the President and in the exercise of our constitutional and civic duty to defend our national territory,” Villanueva said.

In his Second State of the Nation Address, President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. vowed to “protect our sovereign rights and preserve our territorial integrity, in defense of a rules-based international order.”

“In the past Congresses, the Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) has identified the Maritime Zones bills and the Archipelagic Sea Lanes bills as part of its Common Legislative Agenda,” the resolution states. Currently, these bills are included in the priority measures identified in the Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028.

“We live in such a critical time when our country continues to be vulnerable to unlawful activities that threaten our territory and even the lives and livelihood of our people,” the Majority Leader said.

Villanueva added that despite the enactment of the Philippine Archipelagic Baselines Law, there are still legal gaps which require further legislation or comprehensive measures that shall clearly establish and govern the Philippine maritime zones to the full geographical extent allowed under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea or UNCLOS.

The creation of the Special Committee on Philippine Maritime Zones is pursuant to Rule 10, Section 14 of the Rules of the Senate which states that “whenever necessary, a special committee shall be organized, the membership and jurisdiction of which shall be determined by the Senate President.”

Other Special Committees created by the Senate are the Special Committee on Marawi Rehabilitation led by Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa and the Special Committee on the Rehabilitation of the Manila Central Post Office led by Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda.