If we are to read between the maps, Panatag Shoal or its traditional English name of Scarborough Shoal is not in China’s front yard.
This according to Google which recently updated the mostly popular online reference map and removed the counterpart Chinese name (characters) on its site when browsing on shoals within the West Philippine Sea.
Scarborough Shoal, during the Spanish-era was referred to as the Bajo de Masinloc and Panatag Shoal in Filipino.
On previous edition, Google also referred to the shoal as part of China’s territory.
A petition mostly by Filipinos on Change.Org convinced the giant online search company to finally restore the identification of the outcroppings in the disputed sea back to its international names.
But even with the gracious move of Google and the favorable ruling of The Hague (Netherlands)-based Permanent Court of Arbitration, the jurisdiction and ownership of the shoal and the surrounding rich fishing ground will not be reverted that easy.
So, fishermen, numbering to some 3,000 in Zambales were cautioned when fishing in the territory which is part of the province.
Zambales Governor Amor Deloso cautioned that the court’s ruling may escalate the ongoing tension and could also backfire on the fishermen who have been repeatedly harassed by Chinese coast guards stationed at Scarborough until recently.
Read more related story here: PH to use diplomacy on the West Philippine sea dispute
“As governor of the province, I cannot do anything about it because it is beyond my domain… because we do not have firearms here,” Deloso said when asked of the provincial government’s plan of action on the fishermen following the court’s decision.
“But the lives of our fishermen are of paramount importance that is why I have repeatedly advised them not to fish until its free to do so,” the governor added.