Sunday, June 19, 2011

'West Philippine Sea' preferred by the Government

"West Philippine Sea" is now being used by the Philippine Government to refer to the disputed Spratly island group area which is widely known as the South China Sea.

The Government names the maritime area within Philippine jurisdiction at the country's western part "West Philippine Sea" instead of the general tag "South China Sea" | Photo courtesy of GMANews

Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said, “All the other nations call the South China Sea based on how they perceive it. Vietnam calls it East Sea so it is but natural for us to call it West Philippine Sea.”

Meanwhile, Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello said the government must assert authority over the country's territories.

"By renaming the South China Sea to Western Philippine Sea, we are taking a proactive move that strengthens our claim to these controversial waters and the natural resources found within," Bello told GMANews.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) which first publicly used the name on May 31, has explained earlier that using “West Philippine Sea” in referrence to the waters within the maritime territories of the Philippines is "in keeping with our tradition and history, as well as reflective of its proper geographic location."

The same waters, Assistant Foreign Secretary Ed Malaya said, "have long been called Dagat Luzon, or Luzon Sea by our fisherfolk and the rest of our people, and referred to as such in published maps since time immemorial after the major Philippine island of Luzon."