In this map of the Philippines under the United States printed in the year 1900, “Bajo de Masinloc” or Scarborough Shoal/Panatag Shoal is clearly seen as part of the maritime jurisdiction of the Philippines.
At the time, Qing Dynasty’s territories have been diminished due to the expanding imperialism of European powers in mainland China. If China would appeal to history, what period in the timeline would they choose? Of course the period when they had extensive domain (Yuan dynasty perhaps?)
But then, they have to claim Mongolia, parts of Russia, the whole Korean peninsula, Vietnam, etc. etc. to be consistent. You see how absurd their claims are on Panatag Shoal and Kalayaan Islands?
As the tension between the Philippines and China escalate, it would be good for us to take a pause and see how China views the whole dispute over the Kalayaan islands. As can be seen above, China has wielded valuable but unnoticed ‘weapons’ in laying a claim to the maritime territory. It’s HISTORY and SCIENCE. And yes, China knows her history well, not to mention the Research and Development preparations that come with this claim.
It’s high-time that we as a country push for our own national sovereignty over our territory. Logic (with the reason that the Spratlys and Scarborough are nearer to us than China) will help but it won’t do.
First question is this, what do we do when we get these islands? Do we have our Filipino scientists ready in our national intellectual arsenal, to study the natural resource of this maritime territory? Are we prepared to invest on these islands, to study it, to harness these resources for the benefit of the country? Even some of our natural resources within our undisputed territory lay undiscovered, and many discoveries are still made, largely by foreigners.
Second question is, do we have documents, historical proofs to back up our claim?
I hope that we as a people would not only talk but walk the talk. I’m just echoing what Ambeth Ocampo says. Spratlys is ours. But we need to back it up with more than sheer patriotism.