Dr. Jay L Batongbacal is a lawyer with degrees in Political Science and Law from the University of the Philippines, as well as advanced degrees of Master of Marine Management and Doctor in the Science of Law, both from Dalhousie University in Canada. Since 1997, he has done diverse work and widely published on maritime affairs, including community based fisheries management, coastal resource management, marine environment protection, maritime boundaries, high seas fishing, offshore energy, seafaring, and shipping. He has carried out these research activities under the auspices of the Philippine Center for Marine Affairs between 1997-2003, as part of his own academic interests while undertaking his doctoral studies in Canada between 2003-2008, and as a member of the faculty of the UP College of Law from 2008 to the present. He has also served as legal/policy specialist on various foreign-assisted development/management projects such as the Coastal Resource Management Project, the Fisheries Resource Management Project, and the Coral Triangle Initiative Support Program.
Dr. Batongbacal has also conducted, upon request, many briefings and submitted opinions to various government offices, such as the Office of the President, the Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of National Defense, National Security Council, Cabinet Committee on Maritime and Ocean Affairs, the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives, the Committee on National Defense of the Philippine Senate, among others. He remains actively involved with both government and non-government organization on many different issues involving a maritime component, including the mining and petroleum industries.
His commentaries and insights on Philippine maritime affairs have often appeared in traditional and online press in the Philippines and abroad. Dr. Batongbacal was legal advisor to the Philippine delegation that successfully pursued the Philippines’ claim to a continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles in the Benham Rise Region before the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). He has also been listed among the UNESCO List of Experts on Marine Scientific Research for purposes of Special Arbitration under UNCLOS Annex VIII. He recently assisted the Philippines in making an application to the International Maritime Organization for the designation of a Particularly Sensitive Sea Area in the Sulu Sea. Presently, he is a full Professor at the University of the Philippines College of Law and chairs the Graduate Studies Committee which oversees the College’s LLM Program. He is concurrently Director of the Institute for Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea of the U.P. Law Center.