The legal status of the Philippine Treaty Limits in international law

  • Lowell B. Bautista


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.


Philippine Treaty Limits Philippine maritime boundaries International law International legal status Law of the Sea 



The author wishes to thank his supervisors Prof. Martin Tsamenyi and Dr. Clive Schofield for their helpful comments, and Prof. Jay L. Batongbacal for drawing the map depicting the International Treaty Limits.


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Copyright information

© Aegean Institute of the Law of the Sea and Maritime Law 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and SecurityUniversity of WollongongWollongongAustralia

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