, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp 111-139
Date: 03 Sep 2009

The legal status of the Philippine Treaty Limits in international law

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Abstract

The fundamental position of the Philippines is that the limits of its national territory are the boundaries laid down in the 1898 Treaty of Paris which ceded the Philippines from Spain to the United States. The position of the Philippine Government is contested in the international community and runs against rules in the Law of the Sea Convention, which the Philippines signed and ratified. The issue of the legal status of the Philippine Treaty Limits in international law has been subject of much academic debate and serious criticisms. This paper will analyse the legal status of the Philippine Treaty Limits in international law on the following criteria: the interpretation of the colonial treaties that defined the Treaty Limits; the points of conflict the limits have with the Law of the Sea Convention; the status of these lines in customary international law; the acquiescence and opposition of other States to the Philippine position and lastly, the opinion of publicists.

This paper was submitted as a chapter in the author’s Ph.D. dissertation in progress entitled, ‘The legal status of the Philippine Treaty Limits and territorial water claim in international law: national and international legal perspectives.’