By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora

KEYNOTE ADDRESS. President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. delivers his historic keynote address for the 21st edition of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore on May 31, 2024. Marcos was the first Philippine leader to deliver a keynote message for the IISS Shangri-La Dialogue, Asia’s premier defense forum. (Photo courtesy of the Presidential Communications Office) 

MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. was praised for articulating that Philippine territory is not limited to islands within the Paris Treaty lines.

In a statement dated June 4, former Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said this corrected what he called the “greatest misconception” about Philippine territory.

“This is the first time that a Philippine President has stated that Philippine territory is defined by the 1898 Treaty of Paris, as clarified by the 1900 Treaty of Washington, which stated that Philippine territory includes all islands of the Philippine archipelago lying outside the lines of the Treaty of Paris,” he said.

“This is factually, legally, and historically correct.”

Marcos, during his policy speech at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, referred to both the Treaty of Paris and the Treaty of Washington as the basis of the country’s territorial scope.

“When we established our Commonwealth in 1935, we put together a constitution that defined our territory in accordance with the international treaties that became the basis of our archipelagic unity,” he said.

“The Treaty of Paris between Spain and the United States crystallized our islands into a cohesive whole. The Treaty of Washington clarified (that) the extent of our sovereignty and (our) patrimony (transcends the) lines set by international powers.”

In the Treaty of Washington, Spain relinquished to the United States all title to any and all islands belonging to the Philippine archipelago, including those lying outside the lines defined in the earlier Treaty of Paris, particularly the islands of Cagayan, Sulu, and Sibutu and their dependencies.

Carpio said Marcos’ clarification is a “watershed moment” in the country’s fight to defend its maritime zones in the Philippines.

“This finally corrects the greatest misconception in Philippine history that Philippine territory is limited to the islands within the Paris Treaty lines. A watershed moment in our fight to defend our island territories and maritime zones in the West Philippine Sea,” he said. (PNA)