The Philippine Claim over the Spratly Group of Islands
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The Philippines claims Spratly Islands as one of the territories of the Philippines.The islands of Spratly’s are rich in natural resources such as oil and natural gas. According to Arlicle 1, “The National Territory comprises the Philippine Archipelago with all islands and waters embraced therein” the Philippine has claim over these islands as the Article 76 deals with the dealination of the shelf’s outer limits beyond the 200 nautical miles from the baseline. The good thing, in my viewpoint is, that aside from the baseline law, Philippines has historical basis upon its claim. Tomas Cloma has a legal title to the 53 islands. The Spratly Islands are within the archipelagic territory of the Philippines.
The Philippines based its claim on Article 76 of the United Nations on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). The article 76 provides the framework for establishing the rights grante in Article 77. In addition, the treaty of Paris sets the territorial limits of the Philippines. In the said treaty, the spartly’s islands were not included. Moreover, the Japanese awarded the territory to the Philippines during the World war. It was said that Tomas Cloma discovered the islands and named it as Kalayaan Islands or freedom land. The Presidential Decree 1599 by President Ferdinand Marcos proclaimed that the Kalayaan Group of Islands was within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The Article 47 of the UNCLOS sets the criteria for the establishment of the archipelagic baseline which requires that such baseline include the main islands of the archipelago and within which such baseline that ratio of the area of the water to the land, including atolls be between 1 to 1 and 9 to 1.
The extended continental shelf, by Article 76 defined that the continental shelf was brought out by the difference in topologies. Spratly islands was outside the 200 nautical mile ( “the coastal state shall establish the outer edge of the nautical margin extends beyond 20 nautical miles from the baselines”). Through the geological and topological evidences presented by the Philippines, it showed that the Spratly is within the 350 nautical.