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PIA Press Release

PGMA approves creation of Commission on Maritime Affairs

Manila (24 April) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed Executive Order 612 which creates the Commission on Maritime and Ocean Affairs under the Office of the President.

Malacaņang clarifed that with the country's financial condition now improving, various policy issues related to oceans and maritime policy that affect the Philippines as an archipelago demand no less than a "dedicated, focused expert and full-time office with ample resources to address the multifaceted aspects of maritime concerns."

"The effective development, implementation and continuous updating of a Philippine maritime policy is of vital importance to the country as an archipelagic state and maritime nation, defining its sovereignty, national security, territorial integrity and control over marine, mineral, oil and other alternative sources of energy from the ocean, and other resources," the President said.

The commission was given an initial funding of P50 million, and will have overall jurisdiction and direction over policy formulation, implementation and coordination with other departments and experts, both foreign as well as local, on maritime issues.

The commission is composed of the executive secretary as chairman, the secretary of justice and secretary of foreign affairs as vice chairmen, and the members: the secretaries of national defense, environment and natural resources, budget and management, transportation and communications, tourism and trade and industry, the national security adviser, the solicitor general, the chief presidential legal counsel, and the heads of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, the National Mapping and Resources Information Authority, and the Philippine Coast Guard.

The Department of Foreign Affairs will remain the lead agency in Philippine participation in international meetings and negotiations on maritime and oceans policy, including maritime boundary delimitation. The department will also function as the secretariat of the commission.

importance of the oceans and seas and governance was universally acknowledged and enshrined in the 1982 United Nations conference on the law of the seas. (aca/PIA 12) [top]

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