DISREGARDING international conventions and practice, President Benigno Aquino 3rd in 2012, on his own, renamed as the “West Philippine Sea” a segment of the South China Sea. It is a term that would hobble our efforts to settle our sovereignty and maritime-claim disputes with China and Vietnam.
The South China Sea name was given by Europeans starting in the 16th century and recognized over the centuries as such by the world’s nations. It is defined precisely through geographic coordinates by the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO), governing body for the naming of bodies of water around the world. China calls it internally as the “South Sea” while Vietnam calls it the “East Sea.”
Aquino through Administrative Order 29 of 2012 named as “WPS” or West Philippine Sea, “the western side of the Philippine archipelago the Luzon Sea as well as the waters around, within and adjacent to the Kalayaan Island Group and Bajo de Masinloc, also known as Scarborough Shoal.”
Aquino ordered the entire government to use the term “West Philippine Sea;” thus, the term has come to be used by everyone, from as high an official as President Duterte to the lowliest public employee.(more…)