Publication Details

L. Bautista, 'Philippine territorial boundaries: internal tensions, colonial baggage, ambivalent conformity' (2011) 16 (December) Journal of Southeast Asian Studies 35-53.

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The territorial boundaries of the Philippines, inherited from Spain and the United States in 1898, are disputed in international law. The boundaries of the Philippines are not recognised by the international community for two principal reasons: first, because of the fundamental position of the Philippines that the limits of its national territory are the boundaries laid down in the 1898 Treaty of Paris which ceded the Philippines from Spain to the United States; and second, is its claim that all the waters embraced within these imaginary lines are its territorial waters. The Philippine Government is not unaware of these issues and has time and again assured the international community that it will harmonise its domestic legislation in conformity with its international legal obligations. This paper will address and clarify the above issues, and explain the internal tension between the country’s colonial boundaries and its sincere yet seeming ambivalence to conform with international law.