Quantcast
Latest Stories

Name game: PH now calls Spratly isle ‘Recto Bank’

By ,
,

What’s in a name? In territorial disputes, probably the next best weapon you can deploy, especially if you lack warships.

Malacañang seems bent on playing the name game to assert Philippine sovereignty over disputed areas west of the archipelago, this time concerning an island some 100 kilometers off Palawan province.

Days after presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda started referring to the South China Sea as the “West Philippine Sea” in official statements, the Palace aide on Monday spoke of the “Recto Bank,” which he said was the “proper” name of a spot otherwise marked on most international maps as Reed Bank.

“The administration has always asserted that it will dismiss out of hand any claim to what are considered integral parts of the Philippine territory such as Recto Bank in western Palawan,” Lacierda said in a media briefing.

Until Lacierda mentioned it, the Reed Bank was hardly known to be named in honor of the late senator and eminent Filipino nationalist Claro M. Recto.

The Philippines earlier this year filed a diplomatic protest against China after two Chinese ships reportedly harassed a vessel contracted by the government to undertake oil exploration efforts in the bank.

(See In the Know on this channel.)

Lacierda made the remark as part of yet another Philippine appeal for a peaceful resolution of revived tensions over the Spratlys group of islands, an area wholly or partly claimed by six nations, including the Philippines and China.

He dismissed speculations that assigning Philippine names to contested areas—or giving them emphasis in official pronouncements—would only raise rather than ease tension among claimant countries.

“I think the emphasis is on the peaceful resolution,” he said. “Calling Reed Bank Recto Bank is just proper for us. We have always considered, again, that Reed Bank is part of our territory. We do not see this as a statement that would inflame the situation.”

Not to inflame China

“It’s just a matter of taking the cue from the (Department of Foreign Affairs),” Lacierda said to explain why Malacañang was making the name change only now.

“There was no intentional reason to inflame the Chinese,” he said.

“It’s just that, you know, the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of National Defense in their briefings in the meetings of the security cluster have been using West Philippine Sea so we decided to take the cue from this and just use it,” he explained.

Lacierda noted that while China referred to South China Sea as South Sea, Vietnam—another Spratlys claimant—calls the same waters East Sea.

“We’re looking in from our perspective. We are calling it West Philippine Sea based on how we describe it and it’s the same matter that goes on with other nations as well,” Lacierda said.

Zambales pitches in

In a related development, a provincial government in Luzon has done its share in claiming another disputed territory in behalf of the country.

Zambales Vice Gov. Ramon Lacbain II said the provincial board on June 6 endorsed the claim of Masinloc town over the Scarborough Shoal, locally known as “Bajo de Masinloc,” to “strengthen the claim of the Philippines on that area.”

Masinloc’s claim was contained in Resolution No. 62-11, approved by the town council on March 16. The town mayor, Desiree Edora, signed the resolution.

Lacbain said the dispute over the Spratly Islands had prompted Masinloc to assert its claim over the area because, “after all, if that area belongs to the Philippines, then it must be part of some province, or a town.”

“In this case, that area belongs to Zambales, and the town of Masinloc,” Lacbain said.

He explained that because of the continuing dispute over the Spratly Islands, “the boundary for Masinloc right now is San Salvador Islands, which is just 15 km away the town.”

Historic claim

Lacbain said Scarborough Shoal is about 200 km from Masinloc. “[And under] Republic Act No. 9522, all the waters from the town to that area are owned by the Philippines, in particular, the province of Zambales,” he said.

Lacbain said Masinloc had a “historic claim” to the area, which was cited in RA 9522, the law defining the archipelagic baseline of the Philippines.

The resolution described the shoal as “a triangle-shaped chain of reefs and islands… with an area of 150 km. It has a lagoon with [an] area of 130 square km and depth of about 15 meters.”

It said many of the reefs were “just below water at high tide, while near the mouth of the lagoon are ruins of an iron tower, 8.3 meters high.”

Lacbain said it was important for the Philippine government to assert its claim over Scarborough “because there might be a large deposit of oil and minerals in those areas” which can be of benefit to Zambales residents.


Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Edwin Lacierda , Philippines , Recto Bank , Reed Bank , Sprtaly Islands , Vietnam




To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  2. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  3. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  4. Massive infra spending set
  5. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  6. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  7. Passengers denied chance to escape sinking South Korea ferry
  8. South Korea president shouted down by distraught parents
  9. Two Popes who would be saints
  10. Lacson’s wife loses diamond earring to thieves but recovers jewelry quickly with police arrest
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  3. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  4. MH370 co-pilot made mid-flight phone call – report
  5. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  6. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  7. ‘Wife of Jesus’ theory papyrus not fake – Harvard study
  8. Gay college instructor arrested for oral sex with student
  9. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  10. Palace: We can’t blame increase in population on Vitangcol
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Pork payoffs to newscasters Erwin Tulfo, Del Prado, others bared
  4. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  5. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  6. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  7. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  8. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  9. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
  10. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
Advertisement

News

  • 12 dead, 96 injured in Holy Week accidents–NDRRMC
  • Filipino devotees re-enact crucifixion of Christ
  • Rouhani talks peace, outreach at army parade
  • Rains, thunderstorms on Good Friday
  • Carbon monoxide leak suffocates 20 in Catbalogan City
  • Sports

  • Ryu pitches Dodgers past Giants
  • Alonso sets the pace in Chinese GP practice
  • Heat seek Three-peat but Spurs, Pacers top seeds
  • Can Spurs get back at Heat? Can they survive West?
  • Hopkins, 49, seeks win for the ageless
  • Lifestyle

  • Levine designs womenswear with help from fiancee
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel laureate, dies at 87
  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • Entertainment

  • ‘X-men’ filmmaker slams ‘fabricated’ sex attack claims
  • Singer Chris Brown’s bodyguard on trial in DC
  • Whoopi Goldberg debuts as marijuana columnist
  • ‘X-men’ director accused of sex assault on teen boy
  • Cannes film festival launches race for 2014 Palme d’Or
  • Business

  • Italy sells luxury state cars on eBay
  • Asian shares mostly up in quiet trade
  • Dollar up in Asia on US jobs data, Ukraine deal
  • Barbie doll has a problem
  • Oil prices mixed ahead of long Easter weekend
  • Technology

  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Filipinos #PrayForSouthKorea
  • Taylor Swift tries video blogging, crashes into fan’s bridal shower
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • WHO warns vs spread of MERS-Cov, urges vigilance in taking precautions
  • Last call for nominations to ’14 Presidential Awards
  • San Francisco business coalition slams proposed tax on sugary drinks
  • A ‘time-travel’ production of ‘Les Miserable’ at Stanford
  • Filipina Maryknoll sister honored for years of service
  • Marketplace
    Advertisement