Table Talk : West Philippine Sea, boon or bane? PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 15 September 2012 14:30

BY Mike S Apostol

President Benigno Simeon Aquino III, signed Administrative Order no. 29 naming part of the vast China Sea as West Philippine Sea for the Philippines. The West Philippine Sea will include the waters around, within and those adjacent to the Kalayaan Island group and the Bajo de Masinloc or the Scarborough Shoal. West Philippine Sea also included the Luzon Sea.

Will it be a boon or a bane to our struggling economy and our foreign relations with China by following the move of the Chinese government in declaring the whole of the China Sea as their territory to include the shorelines of nations within the peripherals of the China Sea? The newly declared West Philippine Sea is part of the vital trade route from the Western hemisphere to the Eastern hemisphere of the world which China indirectly wanted to control in the guise of securing her territory. Perhaps it will be a boon to our economy and security if the United Nations will recognize and respect the A.O. 29 and make it a part of the world map. But it will be bane for the Philippines if China will not respect it and instead consider the AO 29 provocative.
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The Philippines has the “inherent right to designate its maritime areas” as an independent State, and as such it has the right to declare areas for her protection and economic survival. AO 29 therefore is not a matter where we have to get the approval of China or any other nations before we implement it but rather all nations must adhere and respect our independent decision since AO 29 only includes those waters that the Philippines has jurisdiction in words and in deeds.
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Once this A.O. 29 will be submitted before the Secretary-General of the United nations, the International Hydrographic Organization and the United Nations Conference on the standardization of Geographical Names for their information, a copy of the official map made by our National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (NAMRIA) and copies of relevant orders will be attached for the International body’s information. Normally the U.N. may not disapprove what an independent state has decided for its interest and security and provided such action does not violate the rights of other nations because if the U.N. opposes or disapproves such internal decision of a independent member state it will be considered as “ foreign interference”.
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In the Middle East and the Africa most of the violence and protest that are happening right now is their perception of “foreign interference” on their purely domestic and internal affairs. Most often the foreign nation that is a victim of this perception is the United States of America (USA) and other European Nations like the United Kingdom and others. Rightfully, USA, UK and the other nations are only protecting their interest in those countries. This is not a problem of foreign policy or foreign relations by those restless Middle East and African nations but it is actually a “Clash of civilization and religion”.   
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Scoop: If you draw a straight line from the waters of the farthest island of the south to the waters of the farthest island of the north and connect it to the waters under the A.O. 29, square them off and imagine those straight lines as a land mass, the area of the Philippines will be as big as the State of California. That is the purpose and wisdom of an Archipelagic Theory. Agree or disagree.