Can’t wait to see the “actual” new map of the Philippines that reflects the West Philippine Sea, the previous name of which “was” South China Sea.
We learned earlier that Philippine President Benigno Aquino III signed administrative order (AO) number 29 officially renaming that portion of the sea west of the Philippine archipelago encomapassing the Luzon Sea, the waters around, within and adjacent to the Kalayaan group of islands and the Scarborough Shoal, locally known as Bajo de Masinloc as such.
This act of the government will pave the way for the submission of a copy of the AO 29 together with the Philippine version of the map reflecting the new name on the breadth and width of the sea being referred to, to the office of the United Nations secretary general.
But while the order was signed on September 5, there is no definite date or “appropriate time” when the submission to the UN will be made so far.
Expect that there will be more than grumbling reactions can be obtained from other countries, more specially from the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of China (Taiwan).
Will this make the case stronger for the Philippines or otherwise. it remains to be seen. For while China was first in releasing the scope of interest, complete with a “historical map” (sic) of the volatile area, their actions were reinforced with physical occupation and might the Philippines was made to look more than helpless.
Other than the Kalayaan islands and Scarborough Shoal claims, the Philippines has been through the same experiences before. And twice that many (in terms of territorial land area) already in the past.
The Philippines has not yet abandoned its territorial claim over Sabah which is now part of Malaysia. That huge chunk of real estate south of the Philippines, particulary south of Busgsuk island (Palawan), south of the Turtle islands and west of Sitangkay island (Tawi-tawi) has a total land area of 73,631 square kilometers (28,429 sq mi.) was once part of the territory of the Sultanate of Sulu leased to the British Empire which in turn attached it to Malaysia when it gained independence. As of 2010, Sabah has an approcximate population of 3.12 million. Sayang.
The second flash point is the island of Miangas, also known as Palmas island. Haven’t heared of the place? It is a territory lost to Indonesia by technicality. With an area of 315 hectares (approx 3.15 sq. km), the island has a population of over 700, some speak Indonesian, English, Bisaya and Tagalog!
The island is about 78 miles from Davao Oriental, very well within the country’s 200-mile exclusive economic zone. It is nearest to the Philippines more than Indonesia’s closest island of 232 kilometers, the Nanusa of North Sulawesi.
What is the truth that in 2009 the Philippines released a tourism map which include Miangas? Or, that the Indonesian and Philippine governments have established a joint border patrol base in the island, with the Philippines stationing a contingent of Philippine Marines and coast guard authorities?
Miangas residents maintain trade and commerce with Davao (Mindanao) more than with Indonesia. At one time, it was reported that islanders raised the Philippine flag to protest their dissent on the attitude of police officers in their area.
By the way, if you happen to check out on Google map, search for Miangas, Philippines or Miangas, Indonesia and see the result. Is Marore island, just below the island-municipality of Saranggani, part of the Philppines or Indonesia? What about the three islands or so between Sitangkay and Paguan island of Malaysia?
Other than the new map reflecting the West Philippine Sea, we also want to check out if these islands and territories will be drawn part of the Philippines or stay in limbo. What do you think?