MANILA — The Philippines and Indonesia have resolved their overlapping boundaries in a resource-rich part of the Pacific Ocean after two decades of negotiations, the Department of Foreign Affairs said on Monday.
Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario and Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa will be signing soon the “Agreement between the Republic of the Philippines and the Republic of Indonesia Concerning the Delimitation of the Exclusive Economic Zone Boundary” in the Mindanao Sea and Celebes Sea following the conclusion of talks that began in 1994.
The charts illustrating the EEZ boundary were signed in Jakarta on May 18 for the Philippines by Dr. Peter N. Tiangco, Administrator, National Mapping and Resources Information Authority (NAMRIA) and Capt. Jacinto Cablayan, Director, Hydrography Branch, NAMRIA, and for Indonesia by Mr. Asep Karsidi, Head of the Indonesian Geospatial Information Agency and Cdr. Dede Yuliadi, Chief Hydrographer, Hydro-Oceanographic Office, Indonesian Navy.
An EEZ is a 200-nautical mile area of jurisdiction mandated by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
Foreign Undersecretary Evan Garcia, in his opening remarks at the conclusion of the talks in Jakarta on Sunday, said the new deal with Indonesia “attests to the friendship, patience, goodwill and commitment of the governments of the Philippines and Indonesia to peacefully address maritime issues.”
“This is a significant contribution to, and an example of, reasonable efforts to build a stable and peaceful regional community, in consideration of the interests of countries concerned and in accordance with international law,” he noted.
Garcia said a clearly defined maritime boundary would promote more cooperation and advance both nations’ common interest of managing and preserving the resources in the EEZ.