Speaking before members of the Association of Congressional Chiefs of Staff in the House of Representatives, Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio discussed that the Philippines first named the Spratly Islands, as well as the Scarborough Shoal, as early as 1734.
Philippines named Spratlys, Scarborough centuries ahead of China — Carpio
Patricia Lourdes Viray (philstar.com) - November 26, 2018 - 2:41pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines was way ahead of China in claiming the Spratly Islands and the Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea or West Philippine Sea, Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio said Monday.

During a forum at the House of Representatives, Carpio said the Spratly Islands and the Scarborough Shoal were already included in the Philippine national territory as early as 1734.

"In this (Murillo-Velarde) map, he included in Philippine national territory Scarborough Shoal but called it 'Panakot' because before 1734, that shoal was never given a name in any map," Carpio said.

He was referring to the "mother map" that Fr. Pedro Murillo Velarde made upon the order of Spanish King Phillip, through Governor-General Fernando Tamon, to make an official map of the Philippine territory at the time.

The acting chief justice added that the traditional fishing ground off the coast of Zambales was only given an English name when a British ship called "Scarborough" ran aground on the rocks of the shoal.

European cartographers renamed the feature Scarborough Shoal, which is now called Panatag Shoal or Bajo de Masinloc, but the Filipinos were the first ones to give it a Tagalog name.

"There is no older map from China or from Vietnam showing that Scarborough Shoal was their territory. Nothing at all, they don't have any document," Carpio said.

China, on the other hand, first claimed the Spratlys in 1947, more than 200 years later than the Philippines.

Before that, old Chinese maps indicated that the southernmost part of their territory is Hainan, the province the now maintains jurisdiction over the South China Sea.

"So 1947, China claimed the Spratlys but acknowledged that it is also claimed by the Philippines and by the French Indochina. They did not claim indisputable sovereignty," Carpio said.

For Scarborough Shoal, China just copied the British maps and gave them transliterations of English names, the acting Chief Justice added.

"Scarborough is here. They did not have a name, they didn't know Scarborough Shoal. They just copied the maps of the British and they gave names," he said.

Carpio also noted that the Spratly Islands and the Scarborough Shoal were included in Philippine territory under the 1900 Treaty of Washington. It was a treaty between Spain and the United States for the cession of outlying islands of the Philippines.

Beijing has refused to acknowledge the July 2016 ruling of a United Nations-backed tribunal that invalidated its nine-dash line claim over the South China Sea. The country insists that it has indisputable sovereignty over the region.

In recent months, China has installed surface-to-air missiles and electronic jamming equipment on its artificial islands in the Spratlys. A recent report from GMA News' "Reporter's Notebook" also showed that Chinese Coast Guard personnel drove the news team away and required them to seek China's permission before conducting interviews in the area.

Related video:

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: November 26, 2018 - 10:54am

The United States Navy's Nimitz-class nuclear powered supercarrier USS John C. Stennis continues underway in the South China Sea.

The US Pacific Command just reported that it has received "cargo" from support ship USNS Rainier in the disputed waters.

November 26, 2018 - 10:54am

Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio is addressing the Association of Congressional Chiefs of Staff at the House of Representatives to talk about issues related to the South China Sea. He has been making rounds in the forum circuit across the country to talk about the legal repercussions of China's overreaching claims in the maritime region.

Carpio, who is in the running for the chief justice post, argues that China committed its last territorial act against the Philippines in seizing Sandy Cay in the West Philippine Sea.

China is also expanding its legally invalid nine-dash line claim, possibly to encompass Benham Rise, an expansive underwater plateau east of the Philippines' landmass. (Stock photo)

November 20, 2018 - 8:24am

The latest Social Weather Stations poll reveals that 84 percent of adult Filipinos reject the government’s policy of doing nothing about China's intrusion in the West Philippine Sea. This is up by 3 points from 81 percent in June 2018

The survey conducted from Sept. 15-23, 2018 also shows that 87 percent of Filipinos believe it is important that the Philippines regains control of the islands occupied by China in the West Philippine Sea. 

The SWS poll also finds that Filipinos' net trust is at "very good" for the United States, "moderate" for Japan, Malaysia and Israel, and "poor" for China as 65 percent of Filipinos are aware of Beijing's abuses of Filipino fishermen.

The poll used face-to-face interviews of 1,500 adults nationwide: 600 in Balance Luzon and 300 each in Metro Manila, Visayas, and Mindanao.

November 14, 2018 - 1:59pm

President Rodrigo Duterte says in a statement that ASEAN and China are committed to the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) in its entirety and the expeditious conclusion of an effective Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC).

"ASEAN and China have seen steady progress in the initial phase of the COC negotiations since the announcement of a Single Draft COC Negotiating Text, and looked forward to the completion of the first reading of the Single Draft COC Negotiating Text by 2019," the statement says.

"ASEAN and China will continue to maintain a conducive environment for future rounds of negotiations of the COC. As co-chair of the COC negotiations, the Philippines will continue to work closely together with the ASEAN Member States and China for the early conclusion of an effective and substantive COC."


June 12, 2018 - 10:14am

China Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua says President Rodrigo Duterte has expressed concern on reported Chinese seizures of fish caught by Filipino fishermen in Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal.

Zhao adds that Chinese Coast Guard personnel involved in taking of the catch of Filipino fishermen will be punished. — The STAR/Alexis Romero

May 30, 2018 - 10:00am

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says Washington will continue with its freedom of navigation operations amid China's increasing militarization in the South China Sea. 

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