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.
Island groups of the Philippines The Philippines is divided into three island groups of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. Luzon and Mindanao are named after their main islands of the same names, while the Visayas (the Visayan Islands) is an archipelago Divisions The different islands are grouped into separate island groups by virtue of their regions: Regions I to V, CAR and NCR are for Luzon, Regions VI to VIII are for Visayas, and Regions IX to XIII and ARMM are for Mindanao. If a province is reassigned into a new region, it can also be reassigned to a new island group, as is the case with Palawan, when it was reassigned from MIMAROPA.
The island groups themselves do not have governments of their own, but are instead divided into provinces, cities, municipalities and barangays, which do have their own local governments. Government Although the island groups do not have local governments, hence capitals, certain cities have become the political, economic and cultural centers of the island groups. Manila is the national capital and is the de facto capital of Luzon, though Quezon City, the former capital, has more inhabitants than Manila.
fy">The ROC, the PRC, South Vietnam, France, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands lodged official protests (the Netherlands on the premise that it considered the Spratly Islands part of Dutch New Guinea) and The ROC sent a naval task force to occupy the islands and establish a base on Itu Aba, which it retains to the present day. Tomas Cloma and the Philippines continued to state their claims over the islands; in October 1956 Cloma traveled to New York to plead his case before the United Nations and the Philippines had troops posted on three islands by 1968 on the premise of protecting Kalayaan citizens.
In early 1971 the Philippines sent a diplomatic note on behalf of Cloma to Taipei demanding the ROC’s withdrawal from Itu Aba and on 10 July in the same year Ferdinand Marcos announced the annexation of the 53 island group known as Kalayaan, although since neither Cloma or Marcos specified which fifty three features constituted Kalayaan, the Philippines began to claim as many features as possible. In April 1972 Kalayaan was officially incorporated into Palawan province and was administered as a single “poblacion” (township), with Tomas Cloma as the town council Chairman and by 1992, there were twelve registered voters on Kalayaan.
The Philippines also reportedly attempted to land troops on Itu Aba in 1977 to occupy the island but were repelled by ROC troops stationed on the island. There were no reports of casualties from the conflict. In 2005, a cellular phone base station was erected by the Philippines’ Smart Communications on Pag-asa Island. The Philippines base their claims of sovereignty over the Spratlys on the issues of res nullius and geography. The Philippines contend Kalayaa
was res nullius as there was no effective sovereignty over the islands until the 1930s when France and then Japan acquired the islands.
When Japan renounced their sovereignty over the islands in the San Francisco Peace Treaty in 1951, there was a relinquishment of the right to the islands without any special beneficiary. Therefore, argue the Philippines, the islands became res nullius and available for annexation. Philippine businessman Tomas Cloma did exactly that in 1956 and while the Philippines never officially supported Cloma’s claim, upon transference of the islands’ sovereignty from Cloma to the Philippines, the Philippines used the same sovereignty argument as Cloma did.
The Philippine claim to Kalayaan on geographical bases can be summarized using the assertion that Kalayaan is distinct from other island groups in the South China Sea because: It is a generally accepted practice in oceanography to refer to a chain of islands through the name of the biggest island in the group or through the use of a collective name. Note that Spratly (island) has an area of only 13 hectares compared to the 22 hectare area of the Pag-asa Island. Distance-wise, Spratly Island is some 210 nm off Pag-asa Islands.
This further stresses the argument that they are not part of the same island chain. The Paracels being much further (34. 5 nm northwest of Pag-asa Island) is definitely a different group of islands A second argument used by the Philippines regarding their geographical claim over the Spratlys is that all the islands claimed by the Philippines lie within their archipelagic baselines, and that the Philippines is the only claimant which can make such a statement.
The 1982United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS III) stated that within its territorial waters (out to 12 nautical miles from the baseline), a coastal state is free to set laws, regulate use, and use any resource and that exclusive economic zones (EEZs) extend 200 nautical miles from the baseline. Within an EEZ, the coastal nation has sole exploitation rights over all natural resources. China, the Philippines, and Vietnam are all signatories to the UNCLOS III agreement.
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