MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines will assert its extended western continental shelf as part of efforts to bolster the country’s claim over territories in the disputed West Philippine Sea, a ranking official of the Department of Energy (DOE) said yesterday.
Energy Undersecretary Ramon Oca said the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is now preparing to file its claim before the United Nations.
“If that is approved, that means we have the exclusive right to explore within the continent shelf,” he said.
The government plans to stake its claim on the country’s extended western continental shelf to bolster Philippine sovereignty over territories in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).
The claim on the western continental shelf is the second. The country had earlier claimed its extended eastern continental shelf, which covers a 13-million-hectare area in the offshore northeastern tip of Luzon.
Under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), a coastal state’s continental shelf extends 200 miles from its baselines.
States need to file before the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf for claims beyond the 200-mile limit.
The DOE is helping the DENR prepare its application claim.
Oca, however, noted that other countries are also claiming the Philippines’ extended western continental shelf.
“I guess we have overlap with Vietnam and China,” Oca said.