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New version of Philippine map to be released

MANILA, Philippines - A new version of the Philippine map would be released by the Komisyon ng Wikang Filipino (KWF) – and it will not only include Scarborough (Panatag) Shoal as part of the country’s territory but also identify each of the contested islands by their names during the Spanish era.

KWF chairman Virgilio Almario yesterday said they aspire to issue the new map within the year. Once completed, the new Philippine map may be viewed on the KWF website.

By using the native names of the disputed islands, Almario said Filipinos would be able to provide proper references to them, aside from stressing the Philippines’ sovereignty over the territories.

“If I would be able to do it my way, I would look for the original name of some of these islands so that we would be using their real names. For instance, the Scarborough Shoal, who would believe that it is owned by the Philippines… They have native names so we should do research,” said Almario, a National Artist for literature.

He noted that Beijing uses Chinese names for the islands to emphasize their territorial claim.

Scarborough Shoal is sometimes referred to by its native names, Panatag Shoal or Bajo de Masinloc.

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But as for the other islands in the West Philippine Sea, Almario admitted the need to conduct research using maps available during the Spanish period.

For this project, Almario said they would be coordinating with the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (NAMRIA).

Meanwhile, in observance of the month-long Buwan ng Wikang Pambansa, the KWF re-launched the “Aklat ng Bayan” project.

Under the project, books on world literature were translated into the Filipino language.

Since last year, the KWF has translated 25 books, which include world literature as well as anthologies of Ilocano, Bicolano and Hiligaynon regional writings.

Almario clarified that profit was last on his mind when they came up with the Filipino translation of such books.

“It (sales) is not important to us. What is important is what is needed in the education and to show that Filipino is a language that could be used anywhere, and not only for gossip,” he said.

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