Elements of a State and Philippine Constitution
A community of persons more or less numerous, permanently occupying a definite portion of territory, independent of external control, and possessing an organized government to which the great body of its inhabitants render habitual obedience (De Leon, 2000).
The Philippines is a state.
Elements of a State
The first element of a state is the people, which is known to be the most essential and indispensable element of a state. This is the mass of the population, or the number of people living within the state. There is no specific number of people required living within a state so that it could be called a state.
The second element is the territory, which is the established area that rightly belongs to the people of the state. This is the aerial (air), terrestrial (land), fluvial (stream/river), and maritime (water) domains of the state.
The third element is the government, which is the agency to which the will of the state is expressed, created and administered. This is a group of people or institutions which run and rule the society.
The fourth element is the sovereignty, which is known as the supreme power of the state to command and enforce obedience its will from the people.
According to Article One, National Territory, of The 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines: “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.”
This means that all the area that is encompassed by 185 kilometers (100 nautical miles) from the Philippine shore, under the seabed even, is a territory of the Philippines. This is sometimes also known as the “Philippine Area of Responsibility”, a term used by PAG-ASA and other weather agencies to determine for example, if a typhoon or a Low Pressure Area has entered our territory.
Constitution of the Philippines
The constitution of the Philippines is the most important part of a state. The national territory and all the fundamental laws- the set of rules and principles- can be found here. The Constitution also enunciates state principles and policies. Among the principles and policies embodied in the Constitution are:
(1) Sovereignty of the people;
(2) Renunciation of war as an instrument of national policy;
(3) Supremacy of civilian authority over the military;
(4) Service and protection of the people as the prime duty of the Government;
(5) Separation of Church and State;
(6) Guarantee of human rights;
(7) Separation of power among the various branches of governments; and
(8) Autonomy for local government units.
One of the central components of the Constitution is the Bill of Rights, which declares and enumerates the basic rights and liberties of the people which the government (or any person) is forbidden to violate or encroach upon. Among the rights granted by the Constitution are:
(1) Due process of law and equal protection;
(2) Right against unreasonable search and seizure;
(3) Right of privacy;
(4) Freedom of speech, of expression, and of the press;
(5) Freedom of religion;
(6) Liberty of abode and travel;
(7) Right to information on matters of public concern;
(8) Right to form associations for purposes not contrary to law;
(9) Right to a just compensation when private property is taken for public use;
(10) Right against impairment of contract;
(11) Freedom of access to the courts;
(12) Rights pertaining to persons under investigation;
(13) Right against excessive bail;
(14) Rights of the accused in criminal cases; and
(15) Right to speedy disposition of cases.
It has been revised seven times, starting from The 1899 Malolos Constitution, which was approved by then President Emilio Aguinaldo on December 23, 1898 and promulgated on January 21, 1899, and then the Philippine Organic Act of 1912 enacted into law by the United States Congress on July 1, 1902. Next was The Jones Law of 1916, enacted into law by the United States Congress on August29, 1916, followed by The 1935 Constitution, which was approved by the 1934 Constitutional Convention on February 8, 1935, certified by the President of the United States on March 25, 1935, and ratified by plebiscite on May 14, 1935. This was amended two times, on June 18 1940 and March 11, 1947.
The 1943 Constitution, was approved by the Preparatory Committee on Philippine Independence on September 4, 1943 and ratified by the KALIBAPI convention on September 7, 1943. Following this is The 1973 Constitution, which was proclaimed in force by Proclamation by then President Ferdinand Marcos on January 17, 1973. This was amended three times, on October 16-17, 1976, January 30, 1980 and April 7, 1981. The present constitution, which is The 1987 Constitution, was first presented to then President Cory C. Aquino as The 1986 Freedom Constitution on October 15, 1986. This was approved by the Constitutional Commission on October 12, 1986. It was ratified by a plebiscite on February 2, 1987 and proclaimed in force by February 11, 1987.
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