Philippines-Indonesia maritime boundary treaty now in force

Sofia Tomacruz

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Philippines-Indonesia maritime boundary treaty now in force
The agreement enters into force 25 years after the Philippines and Indonesia first discussed it in June 1994

MANILA, Philippines – The treaty that draws a boundary between the overlapping exclusive economic zones (EEZs) of the Philippines and Indonesia has officially entered into force, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) announced Thursday night, August 1.

In a statement on Thursday, the DFA said the agreement took effect after Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr and Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi signed the “Protocols of Exchange” of the instruments of ratification concerning the agreement.

The signing and exchange of the instruments of ratification was held in a special ceremony on the sidelines of the 52nd ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting in Bangkok, Thailand.

The treaty was first discussed in June 1994 and was formally signed by the Philippines and Indonesia on May 23, 2014. President Rodrigo Duterte ratified it in February 2017 and the Indonesian parliament in April 2017.

The Philippine Senate then concurred with Duterte’s ratification of the treaty in June 2019. Upon its concurrence, former senator Loren Legarda, said the agreement would help Filipino and Indonesian fishermen to operate peacefully and properly in the marine area. Legarda had served as chairperson of the Senate committee on foreign relations.

Under the agreement, the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and its Indonesian counterpart, the Geospatial Information Agency and the Hydro-Oceanographic Office of the Indonesian Navy, shall work together to determine the actual delineation of the sea points and geodetic lines between the two countries.

MARITIME BOUNDARY DEAL. The map shows the exclusive economic zone boundary between the Philippines and Indonesia. Photo from the Department of Foreign Affairs

The Philippines and Indonesia are state parties to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which gave parties entitlements to a 200-nautical-mile EEZ. States have sovereign rights to explore and exploit, and conserve and manage natural resources, among others, within their EEZ.

The two countries, however, have overlapping EEZs in the Mindanao Sea and Celebes Sea, and in the southern section of the Philippine Sea in the Pacific Ocean. This required the two countries to agree on a shared boundary. –



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Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers defense and foreign affairs. Follow her on Twitter via @sofiatomacruz.