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Managing Maritime Spaces
Jay L. Batongbacal
 
     
 

International law recognizes the concept of Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and continental shelf and the exclusive coastal state rights and jurisdiction over such areas, which extend 200 nautical miles from the baselines. Of primary concern would be their right to explore and exploit the natural resources in these areas. On the other hand, other states are entitled to certain freedoms, like freedom of navigation and overflight through these areas, and of laying submarine cables and pipelines.

One study noted that Philippine legislation is already consistent with international law on the concept of EEZ and continental shelf. But there are still problems because the outer limits of these areas have not been determined; there are overlaps with neighboring countries with respect to the EEZ and continental shelf; information is inadequate regarding what resources are there; the institution of technological capabilities to manage the area is lagging; the protection of resources is inadequate due to scant legislation specifically for such areas; and monitoring and enforcement capabilities are insufficient.

In order that the University of the Philippines can help the government address such problems, UP should emphasize certain programs directed toward the management of these maritime spaces. There are three major areas, namely, (1) enhancement of its marine scientific research capabilities; (2) making effective use of scientific information gathered for the purposes of EEZ and continental shelf management; and (3) studies on general management techniques and strategies for the sustainable use of EEZ and continental shelf resources.

First among the immediate needs of the University is to devise a practical development framework that takes into account not only the resources available but also the capacity to utilize it and set a time-based agenda for progressive development of economic activities concerning the EEZ and continental shelf.

Second, based on the framework, the scientific requirements can be determined and a program can be formulated for procuring scientific equipment and facilities for the collection and processing of information in the EEZ and continental shelf. With these assets must come the capability to conduct scientific expedition in the offshore and deep ocean.

Third, the University needs expertise in the fields of marine engineering, naval architecture, ocean sciences, and environmental impact assessment.

Fourth, it is important for the University to have closer links with the private sector involved in resource uses in the EEZ and continental shelf in order to have initial access to the outer areas.

Finally, the University should have programs that will encourage local invention, assembly, or production of the necessary scientific equipment and technologies to be used in EEZ and continental shelf exploration.