On December 10, 1898, the Philippines was ceded by Spain to America and sealed the agreement through the Treaty of Paris. It is in this document that the Philippine territory was defined in Article III, to wit:
Spain cedes to the United States the archipelago known as the Philippine Islands, and comprehending the islands lying within the following line:
A line running from west to east along or near the twentieth parallel of north latitude, and through the middle of the navigable channel of Bachi, from the one hundred and eighteenth (118th) to the one hundred and twenty-seventh (127th) degree meridian of longitude east of Greenwich, thence along the one hundred and twenty seventh (127th) degree meridian of longitude east of Greenwich to the parallel of four degrees and forty five minutes (4 [degree symbol] 45']) north latitude, thence along the parallel of four degrees and forty five minutes (4 [degree symbol] 45') north latitude to its intersection with the meridian of longitude one hundred and nineteen degrees and thirty five minutes (119 [degree symbol] 35') east of Greenwich, thence along the meridian of longitude one hundred and nineteen degrees and thirty five minutes (119 [degree symbol] 35') east of Greenwich to the parallel of latitude seven degrees and forty minutes (7 [degree symbol] 40') north, thence along the parallel of latitude of seven degrees and forty minutes (7 [degree symbol] 40') north to its intersection with the one hundred and sixteenth (116th) degree meridian of longitude east of Greenwich, thence by a direct line to the intersection of the tenth (10th) degree parallel of north latitude with the one hundred and eighteenth (118th) degree meridian of longitude east of Greenwich, and thence along the one hundred and eighteenth (118th) degree meridian of longitude east of Greenwich to the point of beginning. The United States will pay to Spain the sum of twenty million dollars ($20,000,000) within three months after the exchange of the ratifications of the present treaty.
The 1987 Constitution defines the Philippine territory in Article I, to wit:
The national territory comprises the Philippine archipelago, with all the islands and waters embraced therein, and all other territories over which the Philippines has sovereignty or jurisdiction, consisting of its terrestrial, fluvial and aerial domains, including its territorial sea, the seabed, the subsoil, the insular shelves, and other submarine areas. The waters around, between, and connecting the islands of the archipelago, regardless of their breadth and dimensions, form part of the internal waters of the Philippines.
Territory is defined as the fixed portion on the surface of the earth on which the State settles and over which it has supreme authority. The components of the territory of the state are the terrestrial, fluvial, maritime and aerial domains.
Land Territory (Terrestrial Domain)
The territorial domain refers to the land mass, which may be integrate or dismembered, or partly bound by water or consist of one whole island. It may also be composed of several islands, like the Philippines, which are also known as mid-ocean archipelagos as distinguished from the coastal archipelagoes like Greece.
Maritime Territory (Fluvial and Maritime Domain)
The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), also called the Law of the Sea Convention and the Law of the Sea Treaty (or LOST by its critics), is the international agreement that resulted from the third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS III), which took place from 1973 through 1982. The Law of the Sea Convention defines the rights and responsibilities of nations in their use of the world's oceans, establishing guidelines for businesses, the environment, and the management of marine natural resources. The Convention concluded in 1982 replaced four 1958 treaties,namely :
• Convention on the Territorial Sea and Contiguous Zone, entry into force: 10 September 1964
• Convention on the Continental Shelf, entry into force: 10 June 1964
• Convention on the High Seas, entry into force: 30 September 1962
• Convention on Fishing and Conservation of Living Resources of the High Seas, entry into force: 20 March 1966
UNCLOS came into force in 1994, a year after Guyana became the 60th state to sign the treaty. To date 155 countries and the European Community have joined in the Convention. The United States has signed the treaty, but the Senate has not ratified it. However, it is now regarded as a codification of the Customary international law on the issue.
While the Secretary General of the United Nations receives instruments of ratification and accession and the UN provides support for meetings of states party to the Convention, the UN has no direct operational role in the implementation of the Convention. There is, however, a role played by organizations such as the International Maritime Organization, the International Whaling Commission, and the International Seabed Authority (the latter being established by the UN Convention).
The issue of varying claims of territorial waters was raised in the UN in 1967 by Arvid Pardo, of Malta, and in 1973 the Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea was convened in New York. In an attempt to reduce the possibility of groups of nation-states dominating the negotiations, the conference used a consensus process rather than majority vote. With more than 160 nations participating, the conference lasted until 1982. The resulting convention came into force on November 16, 1994, one year after the sixtieth state, Guyana, signed the treaty.
The convention introduced a number of provisions. The most significant issues covered were setting limits, navigation, archipelagic status and transit regimes, exclusive economic zones (EEZs), continental shelf jurisdiction, deep seabed mining, the exploitation regime, protection of the marine environment, scientific research, and settlement of disputes.
The convention set the limit of various areas, measured from a carefully defined baseline. (Normally, a sea baseline follows the low-water line, but when the coastline is deeply indented, has fringing islands or is highly unstable, straight baselines may be used.) The areas are as follows:
A. Internal waters
Covers all water and waterways on the landward side of the baseline. The coastal state is free to set laws, regulate use, and use any resource. Foreign vessels have no right of passage within internal waters.
B. Territorial waters
Out to 12 nautical miles from the baseline, the coastal state is free to set laws, regulate use, and use any resource. Vessels were given the right of "innocent passage" through any territorial waters, with strategic straits allowing the passage of military craft as "transit passage", in that naval vessels are allowed to maintain postures that would be illegal in territorial waters. "Innocent passage" is defined by the convention as passing through waters in an expeditious and continuous manner, which is not “prejudicial to the peace, good order or the security” of the coastal state. Fishing, polluting, weapons practice, and spying are not “innocent", and submarines and other underwater vehicles are required to navigate on the surface and to show their flag. Nations can also temporarily suspend innocent passage in specific areas of their territorial seas, if doing so is essential for the protection of its security.
C. Archipelagic waters
The convention set the definition of Archipelagic States in Part IV, which also defines how the state can draw its territorial borders. A baseline is drawn between the outermost points of the outermost islands, subject to these points being sufficiently close to one another. All waters inside this baseline will be Archipelagic Waters and included as part of the state's internal waters.
D. Contiguous zone
Beyond the 12 nautical mile limit there was a further 12 nautical miles or 24 nautical miles from the territorial sea baselines limit, the contiguous zone, in which a state could continue to enforce laws regarding activities such as smuggling or illegal immigration.
E. Exclusive economic zones (EEZs)
Extend 200 nautical miles from the baseline. Within this area, the coastal nation has sole exploitation rights over all natural resources. The EEZs were introduced to halt the increasingly heated clashes over fishing rights, although oil was also becoming important. The success of an offshore oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico in 1947 was soon repeated elsewhere in the world, and by 1970 it was technically feasible to operate in waters 4000 metres deep. Foreign nations have the freedom of navigation and overflight, subject to the regulation of the coastal states. Foreign states may also lay submarine pipes and cables.
F. Continental shelf
The continental shelf is defined as the natural prolongation of the land territory to the continental margin’s outer edge, or 200 nautical miles from the coastal state’s baseline, whichever is greater. State’s continental shelf may exceed 200 nautical miles until the natural prolongation ends, but it may never exceed 350 nautical miles, or 100 nautical miles beyond 2,500 meter isobath, which is a line connecting the depth of 2,500 meters. Coastal states have the right to harvest mineral and non-living material in the subsoil of its continental shelf, to the exclusion of others.
Aside from its provisions defining ocean boundaries, the convention establishes general obligations for safeguarding the marine environment and protecting freedom of scientific research on the high seas, and also creates an innovative legal regime for controlling mineral resource exploitation in deep seabed areas beyond national jurisdiction, through an International Seabed Authority.
Landlocked states are given a right of access to and from the sea, without taxation of traffic through transit states.
Part XI of the Convention provides for a regime relating to minerals on the seabed outside any state's territorial waters or EEZ. It establishes an International Seabed Authority (ISA) to authorize seabed exploration and mining and collect and distribute the seabed mining royalty.
The Philippine position of on the definition of its internal waters is commonly known as the archipelago doctrine. This is articulated in the second sentence of Article I, Sec 1 of the 1987 Constitution (see above). Our position is that our islands (as many as 7,100) should be considered one integrated whole instead of being fragmented into separate units each with its own territorial sea. Hence, in defining the internal waters of the archipelago, straight baselines should be drawn to connect appropriate points of the outermost islands without departing to radically from the general direction as one whole territory. The waters inside these baselines shall be considered internal and thus not subject entry by foreign vessels without consent of the local state. The archipelago doctrine has been embodied in the 1982 Convention of the Law of the Sea, with the modification that archipelagic sealanes shall be designated over the internal waters through which foreign vessels shall have the right of passage.
This refers to the air space above the land and waters of the State. The Convention on International Civil Aviation, also known as the Chicago Convention, established the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a specialized agency of the United Nations charged with coordinating and regulating international air travel. The Convention establishes rules of airspace, aircraft registration and safety, and details the rights of the signatories in relation to air travel. The Convention also exempts air fuels from tax. The document was signed on December 7, 1944 in Chicago, Illinois, by 52 signatory states. The Convention defines the supreme authority of each state to its airspace. Relevant provisions of the convention relates to such recognition and the elements of a state’s territory, to wit:
Article 1, Sovereignty : The contracting States recognize that every State has complete and exclusive sovereignty over the airspace above its territory.
Article 2,Territory : For the purposes of this Convention the territory of a State shall be deemed to be the land areas and territorial waters adjacent thereto under the sovereignty, suzerainty, protection or mandate of such State.
The rules governing the high seas also apply to outer space, which is considered res communes. Under customary international law, States have the right to launch satellites in orbit over the territorial space of other States.
The Outer Space Treaty, formally known as the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, is a treaty that forms the basis of international space law. The treaty was opened for signature in the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union on January 27, 1967, and entered into force on October 10, 1967. As of January 2007, 98 countries are states-parties to the treaty, while another 27 have signed the treaty but have not yet completed ratification.
The Outer Space Treaty represents the basic legal framework of international space law. Among its principles, it bars States Parties to the Treaty from placing nuclear weapons or any other weapons of mass destruction in orbit of Earth, installing them on the Moon or any other celestial body, or to otherwise station them in outer space. It exclusively limits the use of the Moon and other celestial bodies to peaceful purposes and expressly prohibits their use for testing weapons of any kind, conducting military maneuvers, or establishing military bases, installations, and fortifications (Art.IV). However, the Treaty does not prohibit the placement of conventional weapons in orbit.
The treaty explicitly forbids any government from claiming a celestial resource such as the Moon or a planet, since they are province of mankind. Art. II of the Treaty states, in fact, that "outer space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, is not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means of use or occupation, or by any other means". The pendant for giving up sovereignty in outer space is the jurisdiction and control that the State that launches a space object retains. According to Manfred Lachs jurisdiction and control is giving the means to the State to conduct a mission of space exploration.
Article VI of the Outer Space Treaty deals with international responsibility, stating that "the activities of non-governmental entities in outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, shall require authorization and continuing supervision by the appropriate State Party to the Treaty" and that States Parties shall bear international responsibility for national space activities whether carried out by governmental or non-governmental entities.
Following discussions arising from Project West Ford, a consultation clause was inserted in Article IX of the Outer Space Treaty: "A State Party to the Treaty which has reason to believe that an activity or experiment planned by another State Party in outer space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, would cause potentially harmful interference with activities in the peaceful exploration and use of outer space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, may request consultation concerning the activity or experiment."
Experts of international space law state that the Moon falls under the legal concept of res communis, which means that it belongs to a group of people, and may be used by every member of the group, but cannot be appropriated by anyone (the concept is also applied to International Waters] The effect of the Outer Space Treaty is to restrict control of private property rights, in the way that the law of the sea prevents anyone owning the sea. This is often disputed by those who claim the ability to sell property rights on the Moon and other bodies, but the dispute has never been tested in a court of law.