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: September 15, 2019 - 4:22pm

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.

September 15, 2019 - 4:22pm

Vice President Leni Robredo chides presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo, telling him that he should be better informed of what exactly President Duterte has stated before presenting his own "interpretation," so they can stop contradicting each other in public.

Her statement comes after Panelo called her out for "misplaced and flamboyant remarks" in response to the president's remark about ignoring the arbitral ruling for a joint oil and gas exploration deal with China.

"Litong lito talaga ako, kasi ang sinasabi ni pangulo, iba sa sinasabi niya. Nagsabi si pangulo na i-set aside iyong arbitral ruling; ang sabi niya, hindi iyon iyong gustong sabihin," Robredo says on her weekly radio show, BISErbisyong LENI on RMN-DZXL 558.

Robredo says the administration should put a stop to this "practice" as contradictions between the president's statements and Panelo's "clarifications" only make things even more confusing for the people. 

August 20, 2019 - 8:59pm

The White House accuses China of "bullying tactics" in the increasingly tense waters of the South China Sea and says it will resist Beijing on the dispute.

"China’s recent escalation of efforts to intimidate others out of developing resources in the South China Sea is disturbing," President Donald Trump's national security advisor John Bolton tweets.

"The United States stands firmly with those who oppose coercive behavior and bullying tactics which threaten regional peace and security."




July 31, 2019 - 8:22am

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana should do more than acknowledge China's harassment and bullying of Filipinos in the West Philippine Sea, activist fsherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) says.

"Finally, a high-ranking official from the Duterte administration has recognized that there is an actual harassment of Filipino fishers in our own territorial waters. But we dare Mr. Lorenzana to walk the talk, if he is aware and is already fed up by the Chinese bullying and the subservience of his commander-in-chief Rodrigo Duterte to the foreign aggressor, then he must decisively act to stand with the Filipino fisherfolk and the people in upholding our sovereign and territorial rights," the group says in a statement.

Lorenzana on Tuesday said in response to Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua speech at the anniversary of China's People's Liberation Army that China is a peace-loving nation that he considers China's takeover of Scarborough Shoal, also called Panatag and Bajo de Masinloc, as bullying.

July 11, 2019 - 9:18am

An overwhelming majority of Filipinos believe it is important to that the Philippines regain control of islands in the West Philippine Sea that are occupied by China, the latest Social Weather Stations survey suggests.

SWS says 93% of respondents in its Second Quarter 2019 Social Weather Survey said it is important "that the control of the islands that China currently occupies in the West Philippine Sea be given back to the Philippines," with 74% answering it is "very important" and 19% saying it is "somewhat important".

In contrast, 1% each said it is "somewhat not important" and "not at all important". Another 4% were undecided, SWS says.
"The latest figure of 93% saying it is very important/somewhat important that the Philippines regain control of the China-occupied islands in the West Philippine Sea is 4 points above the 89% (72% very important, 17% somewhat important) in December 2018. It was 87% (72% very important, 15% somewhat important) in September 2018, and also 87% (69% very important, 18% somewhat important) in June 2018," SWS also says.

In the same survey, 89% said it is "not right for the government to leave China alone with its infrastructures and military presence in the claimed territories," SWS says. It adds the proportion has increased steadily in four surveys conducted since June 2018.

July 5, 2019 - 12:37pm

While the Philippines is still verifying the incident, fellow maritime claimant Vietnam joins the United States in raising concern over China's missile test in the South China Sea, which Vietnam calls the "East Sea."

"Vietnam suggests that all activities in the East Sea (South China Sea) should respect sovereignty and legitimate and legal interests of countries and observe international law, especially the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, contributing to regional peace, security, stability and cooperation," Vietnam's Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang says in a statement.

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