Co-Sponsorship Speech of Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva on the Philippine Maritime Zones Act

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Co-Sponsorship Speech – Philippine Maritime Zones Act

November 28, 2023

Ginoong Pangulo at sa ating mga kasamahan sa Senado:

Lubos at buong puso po nating sinusuportahan ang maagap at mabilis na pagpasa sa Senate Bill No. 2492 sa ilalim ng Committee Report No. 172 o ang “Philippine Maritime Zones Act.” Isa pong karangalan at pribilehiyo na tumayo bilang co-sponsor, kasama ang tagapangulo ng Special Committee on Philippine Maritime and Admiralty Zones na si Senator Francis “Tol” Tolentino. 

The enactment of this landmark legislation will serve as a reinforcement of our rights as an archipelagic state, recognized by no less than the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and will be part of the legal, political, and diplomatic strategies of the country to enforce the rule of law in our maritime domain.

Hindi po lingid sa ating kaalaman ang likas na kayamanan ng ating karagatan, kasama po ang mga sumusunod:

·      Coral Reefs: The Coral Reefs in the West Philippine Sea has an estimated area of 4,64 kilometer squared or 464,000 hectares, and the country is believed to have the 3rd largest reef area and one of the most diverse coral reefs in the world.[1]

·      Oil and Natural Gas: According to the US Energy Information Administrationthere are unexplored hydrocarbon stores at the Reed Bank, located near the Spratlys Islands.[2] It is estimated that the South China Sea in total contains approximately 11 billion barrels of oil and 190 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in proved and probable reserves.[3]

·      Fish Production: It must be noted that the total fisheries production in the West Philippine Sea was noted by the Philippine Statistics Authority at around 304,586 metric tons from 2018 to 2022.[4]

These are just some of the highlights that prove how important it is to establish and assert our claims. 

Sa gitna ng mga hamon na pinagdadaanan ng ating mga mangingisda sa ating karagatan, at para sa patuloy na pagtataguyod ng ating soberenya, ang “Philippine Maritime Zones Act” ay magsisilbing isang deklarasyon, isang paninindigan sa ating makasaysayang tagumpay sa Permanent Court of Arbitration sa Hague noong taong 2016. Ito ay isang anunsyo na tayo, bilang mga Pilipino, ay hindi natatakot at patuloy na ipaglalaban ang sariling atin. 

We put our full support to the passage of this measure, and we are confident that our colleagues will also do the same. 

Thank you and may God bless us all.

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