8/29/2019SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED VOLUME 65512/44technical description, Philippine sovereignty overterritorial waters extends hundreds of nautical milesaround the Philippine archipelago, embracing therectangular area delineated in the Treaty of Paris.22Petitioners’ theory fails to persuade us.UNCLOS III has nothing to do with the acquisition (orloss) of territory. It is a multilateral treaty regulating,among others, sea-use rights over maritime zones (i.e., theterritorial waters [12 nautical miles from the baselines],contiguous zone [24 nautical miles from the baselines],exclusive economic zone [200 nautical miles from thebaselines]), and continental shelves that UNCLOS IIIdelimits.23UNCLOS III was the culmination of decades-long negotiations among United Nations members to codifynorms regulating the conduct of States in the world’soceans and submarine areas, recognizing coastal andarchipelagic States’ graduated authority over a limitedspan of waters and submarine lands along their coasts.On the other hand, baselines laws such as RA 9522 areenacted by UNCLOS III States parties to mark-out specificbasepoints along their coasts from which baselines aredrawn,_______________22Respondents state in their Comment that petitioners’ theory “hasnot been accepted or recognized by either the United States or Spain,” theparties to the Treaty of Paris. Respondents add that “no State is known tohave supported this proposition.” Rollo, p. 179.23UNCLOS III belongs to that larger corpus of international law of thesea, which petitioner Magallona himself defined as “a body of treaty rulesand customary norms governing the uses of the sea, the exploitation of itsresources, and the exercise of jurisdiction over maritime regimes. x x x x”(Merlin M. Magallona, Primer on the Law of the Sea1 )(Italicization supplied).490490SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATEDMagallona vs. Ermitaeither straight or contoured, to serve as geographic startingpoints to measure the breadth of the maritime zones andcontinental shelf. Article 48 of UNCLOS III on archipelagicStates like ours could not be any clearer:“Article 48. Measurement of the breadth of the territorial sea,the contiguous zone, the exclusive economic zone and thecontinental shelf.—The breadth of the territorial sea, thecontiguous zone, the exclusive economic zone and the continentalshelf shall be measured from archipelagic baselinesdrawnin accordance with article 47.” (Emphasis supplied)Thus, baselines laws are nothing but statutorymechanisms for UNCLOS III States parties to delimit with
8/29/2019SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED VOLUME 65513/44precision the extent of their maritime zones andcontinental shelves. In turn, this gives notice to the rest ofthe international community of the scope of the maritimespace and submarine areas within which States partiesexercise treaty-based rights, namely, the exercise of
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- Winter '17
- Territorial waters, United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, UNCLOS III