Republic of the Philippines
PALAWAN COUNCIL FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
Puerto Princesa City, Palawan
PCSD RESOLUTION NO. 11-427
“SUPPORTING THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE LEGAL COMMITTEE AS AMENDMENTS TO THE PROPOSED HOUSE AND SENATE BILLS ON THE ESTABLISHMENT OF ARCHIPELAGIC SEA LANES WITHIN THE ARCHIPELAGIC WATERS OF THE PHILIPPINES”
WHEREAS, R.A. 7611, otherwise known as the Strategic Environmental Plan (SEP) for Palawan, took effect on 19 June 1992, section 6 of which provides that the SEP shall serve as the framework to guide the government agencies concerned in the formulation of plans, programs and projects affecting the environment and natural resources of Palawan;
WHEREAS, Section 2 thereof declares the policy of the State to protect, develop and conserve its natural resources towards which, it shall assist and support the implementation of plans, programs and projects formulated to preserve and enhance the environment, and at the same time pursue the socioeconomic development goals of the country; that it shall support and promote the sustainable development goals for the provinces through proper conservation, utilization and development of natural resources to provide optimum yields on a continuing basis;
WHEREAS, this same law provides that the SEP shall,have, as its general philosophy, the sustainable development of Palawan, which is the improvement in the quality of life of its people in the present and future generations through the use of complementary activities of development and conservation that protect life-support ecosystems and rehabilitate exploited areas to allow upcoming generations to sustain development growth;
WHEREAS, Section 7 of the same provides that the SEP shall establish, as its main strategy, a graded system of protection and development control over the whole of Palawan, including its tribal lands, forests, mines, agricultural areas, settlement areas, small islands, mangroves, coral reefs, seagrass beds and the surrounding sea, known as the Environmentally Critical Areas Network (ECAN), and which shall ensure the following: forest conservation and protection; protection of watersheds; preservation of biological diversity; protection of tribal people and the preservation of their culture; maintenance of maximum sustainable yield; protection of the rare and endangered species and their habitat; provision of areas for environmental and ecological research, education and training; and provision of areas for tourist and recreation;
WHEREAS, Section 16 thereof provides that the governance, implementation and policy direction of the SEP shall be exercised by the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD);
WHEREAS, brought before the attention of this Council is the proposed House Bill No. 4153, which seeks to establish the Archipelagic Sea Lanes (ASLs) in the Philippine archipelagic waters and to prescribe the rights and obligations of foreign ships and aircrafts that exercise the right of Archipelagic Sea Lanes Passage (ASLP) through the archipelagic sea lanes and to provide for the associated protective measures therein;
WHEREAS, said proposed House Bill was referred by this Council to the PCSD Legal Committee for discussion of its legal consequences, which Legal Committee issued a Resolution recommending the following proposed amendments: conduct of more extensive consultation by executive agencies with the International Maritime Organization as to the necessity, propriety and location of archipelagic sea lanes; and, if the archipelagic sea lanes be adopted, the designation of coordinates be granted to the President;
WHEREAS, clearly stated from said resolution of the PCSD Legal Committee are the following concerns on the proposed House Bill:
- Practically unrestricted entry/transit of foreign fishing, research, and military vessels/aircraft over Philippine waters;
- ASLs run through or provide direct access to remaining rich fishing grounds, marine biodiversity conservation sites and municipal waters;
- Increased maritime traffic will tend to marginalize/displace smaller scale maritime activities;
- Legislation of ASLs is premature since UNCLOS requires first the consultation through IMO;
- Supposed protective provisions under the proposed House Bill do not effectively bind foreign ships/aircrafts; and,
- Premature legislative designation will likely accelerate expansion of Chinese naval influence in the region.
WHEREAS, this Council recognizes the above-mentioned disturbing observations on the impact of the proposed House Bill considering the fact that two (2) of the three (3) proposed Archipelagic Sea Lanes therein pass through the territorial jurisdiction of the Province of Palawan, specifically, the axis line from Basilan Strait into Sulu Sea and the axis line from Nasubata Channel to Balabac Strait. In fact, as made known by the Tubbataha Management Office, the deviation area of the axis line from Nasubata Channel going to Balabac Strait overlaps with the TRNP “no-take and buffer zone southern boundaries” which are about 20 nautical miles and 8.5 nautical miles from the said axis line;
WHEREFORE, for and in consideration of the above premises, upon motion, duly seconded, be I RESOLVED, as it is hereby resolved, TO SUPPORT, as it is hereby supported, the following recommendations of the Legal Committee as amendments to the proposed House and Senate Bills on the establishment of Archipelagic Sea Lanes:
- Conduct of more extensive consultation by executive agencies with the International Maritime Organization as to the necessity, propriety and location of archipelagic sea lanes; and,
- If the archipelagic sea lanes be adopted, the designation of coordinates be granted to the President;
RESOLVED FINALLY, that this Resolution be submitted to the respective committee of the House of Representatives and the Senate as this Council’s recommendation/comment on the matter.
APPROVED AND ADOPTED this 26th day of August 2011 at Coron, Palawan.
I hereby certify that the above-quoted Resolution has been duly approved and adopted by the PCSD on the 26th day of August 2011 at Coron, Palawan.
|ROMEO B. DORADO
|APPROVED FOR THE COUNCIL:
HON. ABRAHAM KAHLIL B. MITRA