Marcos urged to file for ‘extended continental shelf’ of WPS to UN


Published December 29, 2023 9:02am

A maritime expert urged President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to file “an entitlement to a continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles in the West Philippines Sea (WPS)” before a United Nations commission amid China’s aggression in claiming parts of the area.

“It is not ‘a claim for territorial ownership’ but a ‘submission to establish entitlement to a continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles’ in the WPS,” said the director of the University of the Philippines Institute for Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea, Jay Batongbacal.

Batongbacal told GMA News Online in a message that Marcos can file the submission before the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea’s Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS).

According to him, the same recommendation was made to the past administrations under former presidents Benigno Aquino III and Rodrigo Duterte but no action was taken.

Batongbacal said that previously, the Philippines had filed a similar submission before the Commission in the case of Benham Rise.

In April 2012, the UN commission granted the Benham Rise to the Philippines as an extension of the country’s continental shelf, some 350 nautical miles from the nation’s shore.

Philippine vessels and boats have been experiencing aggressive actions from Chinese vessels in the WPS in the recent months.

China claims most of the South China Sea, parts of which are also claimed by the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam and Indonesia. 

An international tribunal in 2016 invalidated China’s claim in a ruling on a case brought by the Philippines. The Philippines includes areas of the South China Sea that falls within its exclusive economic zone and continental shelf as part of the WPS.

Beijing has refused to acknowledge the decision. —VAL, GMA Integrated News


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