The online news portal of TV5
MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang said formalizing the use of West Philippine Sea to refer to the Philippines’ 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone “reinforces” the country’s territorial claim on Spratly Islands (Kalayaan Island Group) and Scarborough Shoal (Bajo de Masinloc).
“Calling it West Philippine Sea is but a regular step to what we feel is already ours in the first place,” presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said on Thursday.
Lacierda, however, said other claimants to the disputed territories should not see the renaming as an aggressive action on the part of the Philippines since the 200 nautical mile EEZ is covered by the baselines claim submitted to the United Nations.
He could not make a definitive statement, however, on whether the Philippines will make another claim before the UN to cover the KIG and Bajo de Masincloc.
“Let me clarify it with the legal team of the Office of the President as to that,” Lacierda said.
The country earlier made a partial claim before the UN for its extended continental shelf, but it only included Benham Rise, an extinct volcanic ridge northeast of Luzon, and excluded KIG and Bajo de Masinloc in consideration of outstanding claims of other neighboring countries such as China, Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei and Taiwan.
The two disputed areas were classified as “regime of islands” instead under the country’s existing Baselines Law.