Thus domestically the political branches of the Philippine government in the

Thus domestically the political branches of the

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- Thus, domestically, the political branches of the Philippine government, in the competent discharge of their constitutional powers, may pass legislation designating routes within the archipelagic waters to regulate innocent and sea lanes passage. 40 Indeed, bills drawing nautical highways for sea lanes passage are now pending in Congress. 41 - In the absence of municipal legislation, international law norms, now codified in UNCLOS III, operate to grant innocent passage rights over the territorial sea or archipelagic waters, subject to the treaty’s limitations and conditions for their exercise. 42 - Significantly, the right of innocent passage is a customary international law, 43 thus automatically incorporated in the corpus of Philippine law. 44 No modern State can validly invoke its sovereignty to absolutely forbid innocent passage that is exercised in accordance with customary international law without risking retaliatory measures from the international community. - The fact that for archipelagic States, their archipelagic waters are subject to both the right of innocent passage and sea lanes passage 45 does not place them in lesser footing vis-à-vis continental coastal States which are subject, in their territorial sea, to the right of innocent passage and the right of transit passage through international straits. - The imposition of these passage rights through archipelagic waters under UNCLOS III was a concession by archipelagic States, in exchange for their right to claim all the waters landward of their baselines, regardless of their depth or distance from the coast , as archipelagic waters subject to their territorial sovereignty . - More importantly, the recognition of archipelagic States’ archipelago and the 14
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waters enclosed by their baselines as one cohesive entity prevents the treatment of their islands as separate islands under UNCLOS III. 46 - Separate islands generate their own maritime zones, placing the waters between islands separated by more than 24 nautical miles beyond the States’ territorial sovereignty, subjecting these waters to the rights of other States under UNCLOS III. 47 - Petitioners’ invocation of non-executory constitutional provisions in Article II (Declaration of Principles and State Policies) 48 must also fail. - Our present state of jurisprudence considers the provisions in Article II as mere legislative guides, which, absent enabling legislation, "do not embody judicially enforceable constitutional rights x x x." 49 - Article II provisions serve as guides in formulating and interpreting implementing legislation, as well as in interpreting executory provisions of the Constitution. - Although Oposa v. Factoran 50 treated the right to a healthful and balanced ecology under Section 16 of Article II as an exception, the present petition lacks factual basis to substantiate the claimed constitutional violation.
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  • Fall '15
  • Law, Territorial waters, United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, UNCLOS III

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