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The House of Representatives approved Resolution No. 174, “COMMENDING AND CONGRATULATING THE NATIONAL MAPPING AND RESOURCE INFORMATION AUTHORITY (NAMRIA) AND OTHER KEY AGENCIES FOR THEIR VALUABLE CONTRIBUTIONS TOWARDS SECURING PHILIPPINE OWNERSHIP OF THE EXTENDED CONTINENTAL SHELF (ECS) IN THE BENHAM RISE REGION AND OTHER NOTABLE ACCOMPLISHMENTS INVOLVING THE COUNTRY’S MARITIME ZONES.” The Resolution was adopted and signed on 26 January 2015, by the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Philippines, Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. and the Secretary General of the House of Representatives of the Philippines, Atty. Marilyn B. Barua-Yap.
The Resolution specifically lauded NAMRIA and other key agencies for their valuable contributions towards securing Philippine ownership of the ECS in the Benham Rise Region and other notable accomplishments involving the country’s maritime zones. Among the remarkable achievements which were cited were the approval on 12 April 2012 by the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf of the Philippine ECS in the Benham Rise Region which added a total of 135,506 square kilometers of seabed area to the Philippine maritime jurisdiction. The huge gain in maritime area will leave behind a perpetual legacy for the exclusive management, exploitation, and benefit of the Filipino nation. This was achieved through years of arduous effort of government agencies spearheaded by the NAMRIA under the guidance of the then Commission on Maritime and Ocean Affairs, and in collaboration with the Department of Foreign Affairs; the Department of Environment and Natural Resources; the Department of Justice; the University of the Philippines (through the National Institute of Geological Sciences) and the Institute of International Legal Studies; the Department of Energy; the Philippine National Oil Company Exploration Corporation; the National Security Council; the Mines and Geosciences Bureau; the Philippine Navy; and the Philippine Coast Guard.
NAMRIA conducted extensive bathymetric surveys to obtain the hydrographic information that were used as vital technical evidences in support of the Philippine claim for ECS in the Benham Rise Region. The agency’s able and commendable leadership in the preparation of the ECS submission and its defense before the CLCS were instrumental in securing the Philippine ECS gains. Key technical assistance was also provided to the Department of Foreign Affairs in the conduct of consultations with neighboring coastal states for the delimitation of overlapping maritime boundaries and NAMRIA’s technical contributions were instrumental in the successful signing of the new maritime boundary agreement between the Philippines and Indonesia. These achievements have paved the way for stronger cooperation between the two nations, and provided a model for the peaceful settlement of overlapping international boundaries.
Prior to these two recent crucial Philippine successes on its maritime boundaries, the Resolution also acknowledged NAMRIA’s significant technical assistance in the crafting and the passage of Republic Act No. 9522 also known as the “Philippine Archipelagic Baselines Law.” RA 9522 defines the archipelagic baselines from which the limits of Philippine maritime jurisdictions are reckoned. NAMRIA was recognized for its dutiful assistance to coastal cities and municipalities in the delineation of the municipal waters to allow local government units to effectively manage their marine resources. NAMRIA was also recognized for its establishment of the Philippine Geoportal System, a web-based system which facilitates the production, sharing, integration, and analysis of geospatial information of stakeholder agencies. (source: www.congress.gov.ph)
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