Celso, ‘Team Colorao’ get warm welcome from canning factories PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 24 April 2016 14:54

By DEXTER YAP

A heart warming reception greeted candidates of “Team Colorao” in their campaign sorties yesterday in Barangay Ayala and Talisayan ending routes at the different canning factories thereat.

The leading coalition standard bearer and incumbent Congressman Celso Lobregat was elated by the unexpected treatment given them by the management, employees and factory workers during the random visit.

Lobregat presented his line-up of candidates as well as the platform of government and the initiatives of his representation in congress defending the welfare of the canning factories in the city.

“We are considered as the ‘Sardines Capital’ of the country and we live by that as well as defend that good international image by way of having a collaborative efforts on this aspect,” Lobregat said.

The solon recounted the importance of his defense of the city, especially on the dispute and issues regarding municipal water territories which was included in the terms of reference and the proposed draft bill on the controversial Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

Lobregat said that his extensive and firm defense of Zamboanga City against BBL is unparalleled and should be sustained with the full support of the people themselves for him to be able to monitor closely the developments of the proposed law which congress failed to approve.

“Issues on territorial waters arer very vital in the fishing industry sector, their livelihood depends on it and if they don’t have the privilege to navigate on the lawful territory, then we will be losing the business and thousands of job opportunities for our constituents as well,” Lobregat said.

Together with the signing of the Annex on Normalization, the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberaton Front (MILF) also signed the Addendum on Bangsamoro waters. The Addendum delineates the extent of the Bangsamoro waters which, as provided, is 12 nautical miles or 22.224 kilometers from the low-water mark of the coasts of the Bangsamoro territory. The 12 nautical mile limit of the Bangsamoro waters is co-extensive with the territorial seaas defined by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea(UNCLOS); although the Philippines long ago adheres to the so-called archipelagic doctrine in determining its territorial boundaries as a policy choice. This is explicit in Article 1 (national territory) of the 1987 Constitution. At any rate, following either application the Bangsamoro waters under the Addendum is undeniably part of our territorial waters.

Contrast the set boundaries of the Bangsamoro waters vis-à-vis the municipal waters under the Local Government Code and thePhilippine Fisheries Code of 1998 or R.A No. 8550. In the latter laws, municipal waters extends only up to fifteen (15) kilometers from the coastline including streams, rivers, public forest, timber land, forest reserve or fishery reserve within the municipality except those defined under Republic Act 7586 or the National Integrated Protected Areas System Law. Within the coverage of the municipal waters the local government unit (LGU) exercises jurisdiction, including on the management, conservation, development, protection, utilization, and disposition of all fish and fishery/aquatic resources found therein. As things now stand insofar as the Addendum is concerned the jurisdiction of the Bangsamoro over its territorial waters goes beyond 15 kilometers up to 22.224 kilometers from the coastline.

While the jurisdiction exercised by the Bangsamoro over its waters is more extensive than that given to LGUs under the Fisheries Code and related laws, this by itself does not transgress the Constitution or any of the prescriptions in international law. As long as the Bangsamoro is consistently understood as an autonomous region of the Philippines, the only entity it can be without constitutional amendment; then for all intents and purposes, the Bangsamoro waters is nothing more than an expanded municipal waters. – Dexter Yap