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LAWS & JURISPRUDENCE

ARCHIPELAGIC DOCTRINE

It is defined as all waters, around between and connecting


different islands belonging to the Philippine Archipelago,
irrespective of their width or dimension,
are necessaryappurtenances of its land territory, forming
an integral part of the national or inland waters, subject to the
exclusive sovereignty of the Philippines. It is found in the 2nd
sentence of Article 1 of the 1987 Constitution.

It emphasizes the unity of the land and waters by defining an


archipelago as group of islands surrounded by waters or a body
of waters studded with islands.

To emphasize unity, an imaginary single baseline is drawn


around the islands by joining appropriate points of the outermost
islands of the archipelago with straight lines and all islands and
waters enclosed within the baseline form part of its territory.
The main purpose of the archipelagic doctrine is to protect the
territorial interests of an archipelago, that is, the territorial
integrity of the archipelago. Without it, there would be pockets
of high seas between some of our islands and islets, thus foreign
vessels would be able to pass through these pockets of seas
and would have no jurisdiction over them. Accordingly, if we
follow the old rule of international law, it is possible that between
islands, e.g. Bohol and Siquijor, due to the more than 24 mile
distance between the 2 islands, there may be high seas. Thus,
foreign vessels may just enter anytime at will, posing danger to
the security of the State. However, applying the doctrine, even
these bodies of water within the baseline, regardless of breadth,
form part of the archipelago and are thus considered as int ernal
waters.

Following the Archipelagic Doctrine, the Spratlys Group of


Islands is not part of Philippine archipelago. It is too far to
be included within the archipelagic lines encircling the internal
waters of Philippine Archipelago. However, the SGI is part of the
Philippine territory because it was discovered by
a Filipino seaman in the name of ViceAdmiral Cloma who later
renounced his claim over it in favor of the Republic of the
Philippines. Subsequently, then Pres. Marcos issued a
Presidential Decree constituting SGI as part of the Philippine
territory and sending some of our armed forces to protect said
island and maintainour sovereignty over it.

Moreover, Spratlys group of Islands is considered as part of our


National Territory. Article I of the Constitution provides: The
national territory comprises the Philippine archipelago, x x x, and
all other territories over which the Philippines has sovereignty
or jurisdiction, x x x. The Spratlys Group of islands falls under
the second phrase and all other territories over which the
Philippines has sovereignty or jurisdiction. It is part of our
national territory because Philippines exercise sovereignty
(through election of public officials) over Spratlys Group of
Islands

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