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.

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As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: June 13, 2019 - 6:15pm

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.

June 13, 2019 - 6:15pm

The Communist Party of the Philippines sees sinister motives behind a US plan to deploy the US Coast Guard Cutter Stratton in the South China Sea to help smaller nations protect their exclusive economic zones.

The CPP, which believesUS imperialism is one of the factors that has kept the Philippines poor, says the protection plan is direct military intervention by America. The US Coast Guard is the coastal defense and maritime law enforcement branch of the US Armed Forces.

RELATED: US Coast Guard to help countries struggling with EEZ protection

The communist party says the US is "capitalizing on the widespread outrage of the Filipino people over the June 9 incident near the Recto Bank where a fishing boat with Filipino crewmen sank after colliding with a Chinese fishing vessel." It says the US wants justification to send its warships and other vessels into Philippine waters.

 The US is a treaty ally of the Philippines, its former colony. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao in Baguio City

June 13, 2019 - 5:13pm

Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano says the acts of the Chinese fishing vessel in a collision with Filipino fishing boat in the West Philippine Sea are "condemnable." 

"The actions of the Chinese indicate that they intended to do harm to the Filipino fishermen especially since the latter were allegedly anchored. It is aimed to send a message to the rest to keep off the West Philippine Sea," Alejano says in a press statement.

"The said Chinese vessel involved in the incident that happened inside the Philippines’ EEZ could be part of China's Maritime Militia organized to pursue China's objectives in South China Sea," he adds.

June 13, 2019 - 2:48pm

Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III, who is seen to head the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations in the 18th Congress, condemns the reported abandonment by a Chinese fishing vessel of the crew of a Filipino fishing boat that sank after a collision near the Recto Bank in the West Philippine Sea.

"No matter who was at fault, the crew of a sinking ship must never be abandoned by an able ship. The rescue of all persons in distress at sea is not only an obligation under international maritime law, it is also a matter of humanitarian duty," Pimentel says.

Citing the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, Pimentel says ships are obliged to assist other ships in distress.

"Logic dictates that such duty becomes more pronounced if it is your ship that caused the distress.  In this case, there was a total breach of that duty to help.  I urge the authorities to immediately find out the Flag State of the offending vessel so that the Philippines can file the appropriate diplomatic protest," Pimentel added.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said Thursday that the Philippines has already filed a diplomatic protest with China over the incident.

June 13, 2019 - 12:28pm

The Philippines has filed a diplomatic protest against China over the collision incident in the South China Sea, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. says on Twitter.

The protest was filed on Wednesday, June 12, the same day that the Department of National Defense reported that a Chinese vishing vessel sank a boat manned by 22 Filipino fishermen off Reed Bank in the heavily contested waters on June 9.

The defense agency described the incident as a "hit and run."

June 12, 2019 - 6:19pm
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