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IFPDS holds lecture on the Philippine maritime territories and jurisdictions

The Institute of Fisheries Policy and Development Studies (IFPDS), College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences (CFOS), UP Visayas held an academic program improvement (API) lecture entitled “Philippine Marine Territories and Jurisdictions: Lost at Sea?” on May 3, 2017 at the Audio Visual Hall, Pidlaoan Building, UPV, Miagao, Iloilo.

Dr. Crispino A. Saclauso, CFOS dean, gave the welcome message. Saclauso acknowledged the importance of the activity and to have a legal expert with vast experience and deep knowledge on the law of the sea and issues on maritime territories and jurisdictions. He said the expertise of the lecturer could enhance the knowledge of the faculty, staff and students and other participants on topics related to international laws and fisheries policies.

“This is also an opportunity for us to better appreciate our national patrimony and learn ways in protecting and advancing our national interests,” Saclauso said.
Invited to give the lecture was Atty. Jay Batongbacal, Ph.D, professor and director of the Institute of Marine Affairs and Law of the Sea, College of Law, UP Diliman. A well accomplished professional on marine affairs and law of the sea, Batongbacal presented the legal conception of the Philippines’ maritime interests and territories including the difference between the domestic and international perspectives of the country’s terrestrial and maritime territories. He also discussed the challenges in the West Philippine Sea as well as the events surrounding the South China Sea. He likewise tackled other developing issues in other areas of the Philippine maritime space and the current problems that the country is facing in connection with our maritime affairs.

“Are we now losing our territorial rights?”

This was the reaction of the Filipino expert on China over the developing issues surrounding the Philippine maritime territories and jurisdictions with the friendly dealings of the present administration towards China .Batongbacal is worried that the Philippines is slowly losing its maritime territories to China after President Rodrigo Duterte expressed his desire to have a joint military exercises with China in the internal waters of Sulu Sea. The country is now studying the possibility of forging a visiting forces agreement (VFA) with China for said purpose.

During the Open Forum, Batongbacal said that it is fine to develop friendship and to have bilateral ties with China but “we should not forget that they are our primary competitor when it comes to our maritime territories and jurisdictions.”

The marine affairs and law of the sea expert said that the country should use international pressure and international law to assert its claim in the West Philippine Sea, which according to him is a long and tedious process, hence, “we should start now.”

Batongbacal gave similar lecture in 2014. Dr. Harold Monteclaro, Director of IFPDS, thanked Batongbacal for accepting the invitation despite the latter’s very busy schedule. The lecture is part of the continuing effort in improving the capacities of the College particularly the IFPDS in its curriculum programs. It is one of the series of lectures that the Institute will be holding within the year.

The informative and engaging talk was also attended by the invited local government units and government agencies.

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