- Thus, domestically, the political branches of the Philippine government, in thecompetent discharge of their constitutional powers, may pass legislationdesignating routes within the archipelagic waters to regulate innocent and sealanes passage.40Indeed, bills drawing nautical highways for sea lanes passage arenow pending in Congress.41- In the absence of municipal legislation, international law norms, now codified inUNCLOS III, operate to grant innocent passage rights over the territorial sea orarchipelagic waters, subject to the treaty’s limitations and conditions for theirexercise.42- Significantly, the right of innocent passage is a customary international law,43thusautomatically incorporated in the corpus of Philippine law.44No modern State canvalidly invoke its sovereignty to absolutely forbid innocent passage that isexercised in accordance with customary international law without riskingretaliatory measures from the international community.- The fact that for archipelagic States, their archipelagic waters are subject to boththe right of innocent passage and sea lanes passage45does not place them in lesserfooting vis-à-viscontinental coastal States which are subject, in their territorialsea, to the right of innocent passage and the right of transit passage throughinternational straits. - The imposition of these passage rights through archipelagic waters underUNCLOS III was a concession by archipelagic States, in exchange for their right toclaim all the waters landward of their baselines, regardless of their depth ordistance from the coast, as archipelagic waters subject to their territorialsovereignty. - More importantly, the recognition of archipelagic States’ archipelago and the14
waters enclosed by their baselines as one cohesive entity prevents the treatmentof their islands as separate islands under UNCLOS III.46- Separate islands generate their own maritime zones, placing the waters betweenislands separated by more than 24 nautical miles beyond the States’ territorialsovereignty, subjecting these waters to the rights of other States under UNCLOSIII.47- Petitioners’ invocation of non-executory constitutional provisions in Article II(Declaration of Principles and State Policies)48must also fail. - Our present state of jurisprudence considers the provisions in Article II as merelegislative guides, which, absent enabling legislation, "do not embody judiciallyenforceable constitutional rights x x x."49- Article II provisions serve as guides informulating and interpreting implementing legislation, as well as in interpretingexecutory provisions of the Constitution. - Although Oposa v. Factoran50treated the right to a healthful and balancedecology under Section 16 of Article II as an exception, the present petition lacksfactual basis to substantiate the claimed constitutional violation.
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Law, Territorial waters, United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, UNCLOS III