MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino has signed Administrative Order (AO) No. 29 "naming the West Philippine Sea of the Republic of the Philippines."
Aquino last year ordered the use of “West Philippine Sea," instead of South China Sea, suggesting entitlement and sovereignty over the disputed seas.
The administrative fiat, signed last September 5, justifies ownership over “maritime areas on the western side of the Philippine archipelago...These areas include 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.”
This is based on local and international laws prescribing baselines and the use and management of natural resources near the country, Aquino said.
He thus ordered the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (NAMRIA) to “produce and publish charts and maps of the Philippines reflecting the West Philippine Sea.”
The official map, including a copy of relevant orders, shall then be submitted before the Secretary-General of the United Nations and other organizations, such as the International Hydrographic Organization and the United Nations Conference on the Standardization of Geographical Names.
All government offices are also ordered to use the NAMRIA maps.
Specifically, the Department of Education, Commission on Higher Education and state universities and colleges (SUCs) have been ordered to issue circulars requiring the use of the maps in relevant subjects, researches and instructional materials, such as, among others, text books, instructional materials, and audio-visual presentations.
This is also what China does, using text books and maps to show China's ownership over the South China Sea.
Aquino said: “The expenditures which may be incurred in the implementation of this Order shall be funded from the existing annual budget of the concerned agencies, subject to the usual accounting and auditing rules and regulations.” -- with a report from Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News