STUPID, bungling or lying conspirators — you decide.
For all their flag-waving shrieks that China is encroaching on our exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and must be fought even to the point of war — as Benigno Aquino 3rd implied in 2011 — these Yellows have used spurious maps of our EEZ and our territorial seas, which in effect even gave away huge swaths of our maritime zone. The maps they disseminated are spurious in that all of them were not issued as official maps by the Philippine government, specifically by the sole mapping agency, the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (Namria). As that authority informed me on January 22 in response to my freedom of information request, it has not and cannot issue maps of our territorial sea and EEZ as it is still “awaiting for the maritime zones bill to become law… which will be its basis in preparing the official map.”
Spurious Map 1: The very first (“Fig. 1” in the book) map that retired Supreme Court justice Antonio Carpio — arguably the de facto spokesman of a Sinophobic stance on the South China Sea dispute — presented in his e-book on the controversy was, quite astonishingly, from a mere Wikipedia entry.
It wasn’t even a regular Wikipedia article vetted by its writers and editors, but a “user page,” a kind of blog by an individual in Wikipedia. It was by some obscure amateur map-drawer Roel Balingit, who posted the map of the Philippines with its EEZ as a sample of his work in drawing maps.
Carpio was a longtime corporate lawyer, one even vying to be Supreme Court Chief justice. The principle of establishing facts through legitimate documents must have been etched in his brain.
Yet to argue that China is encroaching on Philippine EEZ, he relied on a Wikipedia entry?
Spurious Maps 2 and 3: Map 2 was also used by Carpio in the same e-book, as “Fig. 15” in his book. This map is substantially different from his Wikipedia map, as it depicts the EEZ as extending even into half of Taiwan and most of Borneo.
The origin of the map, as disclosed in the caption to it, is that it was “included” in the August 2011 decision of the Supreme Court declaring the 2008 Baselines Law as constitutional.
What Carpio of course doesn’t disclose is that he was the ponente (“writer of the decision”) in that case. There is no information in the decision Carpio wrote where that map came from, which therefore means that it was solely Carpio and his staff who drew it. But Carpio, deliberately or not, didn’t disclose that.
Spurious Map 4: The fourth spurious map is that submitted as an exhibit in the Aquino administration’s arbitration suit against China in 2013, by that government’s American lawyers, with then Solicitor General Florin Hilbay — as the joke went around then — as their office boy.
The map though isn’t an official government map. As a notation to the map indicates, it was “prepared” by an American private firm “International Mapping.” The map doesn’t indicate what data or Philippine maps it is based on.
It is certainly astonishing — or an indication of its bias — that the five-man arbitration panel that decided, among others, that China encroached on the Philippine EEZ, didn’t question the validity of a map on the EEZ drawn by a private firm and paid for by the Aquino government. The panel also did not consider the fact that the Philippines had not declared through an official map the breadth of its EEZ and territorial sea. In short, all of the four maps that the Yellows have been spreading on our EEZ are maps that have no official value, not too different from maps drawn in those cartoons by pirates with an “x marks the spot.”
These are certainly spurious since the presenters of these maps did not indicate in any way that they are not official maps, and therefore have little weight as it reflects solely their own interpretation.
The first Carpio map and that submitted in the arbitration practically give away swaths of our potential EEZ to other entities without even negotiating with them. In these maps the Philippine EEZ is abruptly cut in the Taiwan Straits (at the top of the map) and then horizontally in the waters off Sabah. The mapmaker obviously assumed the Philippines had reached a delimitation agreement (to settle the overlap of two entities’ EEZs) with Taiwan and Malaysia, which it has not.
More significantly, it also assumed that the Philippines had given up its claim to Sabah, which it has not.
Indeed, these two maps contain no note or indication whatsoever of Section 2 of Republic Act 5446 of 1968 (the first Baselines Law), which says that “the definition of the baselines of the territorial sea of the Philippine Archipelago as provided in this Act is without prejudice to the delineation of the baselines of the territorial sea around the territory of Sabah, situated in North Borneo, over which the Republic of the Philippines has acquired dominion and sovereignty.”
That 1968 provision very deliberately and knowingly was not amended by the later Baselines Law of 2009, as was pointed out by renowned lawyer Estelito Mendoza, who shepherded the Baselines Law through Congress.
Carpio and the Aquino camp have disseminated these spurious maps that in effect show that we have dropped our claim to Sabah, defying Congress, the only body that can give up a territory. This certainly reminds me of that aphorism, “The enemy is within.”