On this point the joint Executive-Senate determination, now adopted by the House, was essentially correct…
This is a very short post, for lack of material time.
Earlier today, the Bicameral Conference Committee, composed of representatives of both Houses of Congress, approved a draft of the bill amending Article 1 of the Philippine baselines statute (Republic Act No. 3046 as amended by Republic Act No. 5446). According to reports by GMA News and the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the Bicam draft substantially adopted the Senate proposal, which followed the general configuration of baselines under the old statute. It therefore distinguished the Kalayaan (Spratlys) Islands and Scarborough Shoal from the central archipelago, placing the former under a regime of islands under Article 121 of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS 1982).
Very briefly, this is positive news. We do not often agree with the Executive, but on this point the joint Executive-Senate determination, now adopted by the House, was essentially correct. A PDF copy of the Senate draft is available here. For an admirably nuanced introduction to the issues, please see the article of Dean Raul Pangalangan in his column (here) in the Philippine Daily Inquirer.*
God bless us all.
*Please note that any reference to any article or other work does not necessarily entail agreement with the same in whole or in part