The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) is backing the Filipino people and the country’s assertion of its sovereign rights in the West Philippine Sea. 

The organization of lawyers in the country stated their support is based on the Treaty of Paris of 1898, which ended the Spanish-American War. According to the IBP, this treaty clearly defined the territorial limits of the Philippine archipelago.

“According to Article III of the Treaty of Paris, Spain ceded to the United States all rights of sovereignty over the Philippines, including  the waters surrounding the islands,” it said.

“Further reinforcing this, the Spanish-U.S. Treaty of Washington in 1900 supplemented the Treaty of Paris by clarifying and affirming the cession of additional islands to the United States, as part of Philippine  territory. This Treaty of Washington documented Spain’s cession to U.S. of  any and all islands of the Philippine Archipelago lying outside of the lines  described in Article III of the Treaty of Paris of December 10, 1898,” the IBP added.

The IBP stated that when the Philippines became independent, all islands covered by the Treaty of Paris and Treaty of Washington, which are part of its archipelago, became part of the nation’s territory.

It further said that the UNCLOS, signed by both the Philippines and China, grants coastal states rights over their exclusive economic zones (EEZ) up to 200 nautical miles from their coastlines.

In 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration confirmed that the Philippines has sovereign rights over its EEZ in the West Philippine Sea, allowing it economic activities like fishing, resource exploration, and marine conservation within this zone.

“Therefore, the West Philippine Sea is inside the Philippines’ Exclusive  Economic Zone (EEZ) to the extent of 200 miles measured from our  country’s archipelagic baselines,’ the IBP stated.

Scarborough Shoal (Bajo de Masinloc) lies roughly 120 miles off the coast of Zambales, serving as a longstanding fishing ground for Filipino fishermen. Ayungin Shoal (2nd Thomas Shoal), situated around 196 miles from Palawan, is home to the Philippine Ship BRP Sierra Madre.

The IBP contended that the 1987 Philippine Constitution requires the state to protect the rights of subsistence fishermen, particularly those from local communities, by providing their priority access to community marine and fishing resources, both inland and offshore.

It cited Article XIII, Section 7 of  the 1987 Philippine Constitution: “The State shall protect the rights of  subsistence fishermen, especially of local communities, to the preferential use of the  communal marine and fishing resources, both inland and offshore. It shall provide  support to such fishermen through appropriate technology and research, adequate  financial, production, and marketing assistance, and other services. The State shall  also protect, develop, and conserve such resources. The protection shall extend to  offshore fishing grounds of subsistence fishermen against foreign intrusion. Fishworkers shall receive a just share from their labor in the utilization of marine  and fishing resources.” 

“Clearly, therefore, Filipino fishermen have the legal right to go  fishing within the 200 miles Philippine Exclusive Economic Zone; while the  Philippine government is duty-bound to provide protection to our fishermen inside this zone,” the IBP said.

“The Integrated Bar of the Philippines stands with the Filipino  fishermen who are only exercising their right to a livelihood inside our  own EEZ. The Integrated Bar of the  Philippines also supports the legitimate stand of the Philippine government in asserting our country’s lawful and sovereign rights over the  Philippine EEZ in the WPS,” it added.

*** BASAHIN SA WIKANG FILIPINO ***

IBP suportado ang karapatan ng bansa sa West Philippine Sea

Suportado ng Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) ang mga Pilipino at ang paghahayag ng bansa ng kanilang sovereign rights sa West Philippine Sea.

Ayon sa samahan ng mga abogado sa bansa, ang kanilang suporta ay nakabatay sa Treaty of Paris ng 1898, na nagtapos sa Spanish-American War. Sabi ng IBP, malinaw na itinakda ng kasunduang ito ang mga teritoryal na hangganan ng kapuluan ng Pilipinas.

“According to Article III of the Treaty of Paris, Spain ceded to the United States all rights of sovereignty over the Philippines, including the waters surrounding the islands,” ayon sa kanila.

“Further reinforcing this, the Spanish-U.S. Treaty of Washington in 1900 supplemented the Treaty of Paris by clarifying and affirming the cession of additional islands to the United States, as part of Philippine territory. This Treaty of Washington documented Spain’s cession to U.S. of any and all islands of the Philippine Archipelago lying outside of the lines described in Article III of the Treaty of Paris of December 10, 1898,” dagdag pa ng IBP.

Ayon sa IBP, nang maging malaya ang Pilipinas, lahat ng isla na saklaw ng Treaty of Paris at Treaty of Washington, na bahagi ng kapuluan nito, ay naging bahagi ng teritoryo ng bansa.

Dagdag pa nila, ang UNCLOS, na nilagdaan ng parehong Pilipinas at Tsina, ay naggawad ng mga karapatan sa mga bansang may baybayin sa kanilang exclusive economic zones (EEZ) hanggang 200 nautical miles mula sa kanilang mga baybayin.

Noong 2016, kinumpirma ng Permanent Court of Arbitration na ang Pilipinas ay may mga sovereign right sa kanyang EEZ sa West Philippine Sea, na nagpapahintulot sa mga gawaing pang-ekonomiya tulad ng pangingisda, eksplorasyon ng mga yaman, at pangangalaga ng dagat sa loob ng zone na ito.

“Therefore, the West Philippine Sea is inside the Philippines’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) to the extent of 200 miles measured from our country’s archipelagic baselines,” ayon sa IBP.

Ang Scarborough Shoal (Bajo de Masinloc) ay humigit-kumulang 120 miles mula sa baybayin ng Zambales, na matagal nang lugar ng pangingisda ng mga Pilipinong mangingisda. Ang Ayungin Shoal (2nd Thomas Shoal), na nasa paligid ng 196 miles mula sa Palawan, ay tahanan ng Philippine ship na BRP Sierra Madre.

Ipinahayag ng IBP na ang 1987 Philippine Constitution ay nag-uutos sa estado na protektahan ang mga karapatan ng mga mangingisdang pangkabuhayan, lalo na ang mga mula sa mga lokal na komunidad, sa pamamagitan ng pagbibigay ng kanilang priyoridad na access sa mga yamang dagat at pangingisda, parehong sa loob at labas ng baybayin.

Tinukoy nito ang Article XIII, Section 7 ng 1987 Philippine Constitution: “The State shall protect the rights of subsistence fishermen, especially of local communities, to the preferential use of the communal marine and fishing resources, both inland and offshore. It shall provide support to such fishermen through appropriate technology and research, adequate financial, production, and marketing assistance, and other services. The State shall also protect, develop, and conserve such resources. The protection shall extend to offshore fishing grounds of subsistence fishermen against foreign intrusion. Fishworkers shall receive a just share from their labor in the utilization of marine and fishing resources.”

“Clearly, therefore, Filipino fishermen have the legal right to go fishing within the 200 miles Philippine Exclusive Economic Zone; while the Philippine government is duty-bound to provide protection to our fishermen inside this zone,” ayon sa IBP.

“The Integrated Bar of the Philippines stands with the Filipino fishermen who are only exercising their right to a livelihood inside our own EEZ. The Integrated Bar of the Philippines also supports the legitimate stand of the Philippine government in asserting our country’s lawful and sovereign rights over the Philippine EEZ in the WPS,” dagdag pa nila.