Google heeds calls to drop Chinese reference to Panatag Shoal

by Thea Alberto-Masakayan, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Jul 14 2015 12:28 PM | Updated as of Jul 14 2015 08:28 PM

Consider it a virtual victory, for now.

Google has heeded calls to remove a Chinese reference name to the Scarborough Shoal, a disputed island in the West Philippine Sea.

Scarborough Shoal is a neutral tag. Philippines uses Bajo de Masinloc and Panatag Shoal to refer to the islands.

“We've updated Google Maps to fix the issue. We understand that geographic names can raise deep emotions which is why we worked quickly once this was brought to our attention,” Google Philippines said in a statement Tuesday.

This comes after a petition on Change.org called on Google to stop calling part of Scarborough Shoal as Zhongsha Islands, Sansha in its map feature.

“China's sweeping claim of South China Sea under their 9-dash line purportedly historical boundary is illegal and is creating tension among nations,” said a petition started by username Alf Amp.

The petition also said Google maps “showing this is part of Zhongsha island chain gives credence to what is plainly a territory grab that peace loving nations should stand against.”

Change.org Country Lead Christine Roque said the petition’s victory showed how online unity can deliver change. The petition had about 2,000 signatures.

“This is the power of people coming together for a common cause,” Roque said.

Google Philippines meanwhile noted that the “best way to flag concerns with Google Maps” is to reach out to the search engine directly.

“The best way to flag concerns with Google Maps is to report the problem to their system and Google always acts on them immediately. You can use the process given here: https://support.google.com/maps/answer/3094088?hl=en,” Google Philippines said.