With the dispute going on at the West Philippine Sea (WPS), every Filipino should be aware of what we’re fighting for here. We’ve been seeing news about foreign vessels roaming our waters for the past few years and our local fishermen being threatened by these foreigners. Why does the West Philippine Sea belong to the Philippines? Why exactly is it important for Filipinos to defend the West Philippine Sea? What happens if we fail to defend it? Educate yo’self with this free handy primer.
The University of the Philippines published a primer on the WPS
It’s 80 pages long
The document was first published in 2013 by UP’s Asian Center and the Institute for Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea. It spans 80 pages of material broken down into easily digestible subsections and chapters.
What are the topics?
The primer will walk you through the national interests and history and development of the Kalayaan Island Group (Spratlys Island) and the Bajo de Masinloc (Scarborough Shoal). It gives you an answer to questions like “What are the territorial disputes in the West Philippine Sea about?” You will also read discussions on why these islands are important to our country and several solutions to these maritime disputes.
It features detailed maps and images
If you think reading through 80 pages of geopolitical history would be boring, the good thing is it’s not just blocks of text. Visual learners will be glad to know that it includes maps detailed specifically to indicate the areas mentioned. It makes the points of the primer digestible and easy to understand.
And explains the role of certain government agencies
This primer also discusses which department of our government should be handling the West Philippine Sea disputes. The Department of Foreign Affairs, (DFA) the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) all have a role to play in protecting our territory and keeping the peace with other countries.
Why should you read this?
Although it’s almost a decade since the paper has been published, its contents remain relevant, especially in light of what’s happening now. This quick 80-page primer will only take you two days at most to read but its contents will remain with you and shape the way you see the issue. Our eyes are opened to certain truths if we strive to educate ourselves. It’s a valuable source of knowledge, one that we need in times like these to arm ourselves against fake news.
Read the primer ASAP
You can download your copy in PDF here. Share it with your friends, or with everyone you know, so they can educate themselves too!
The latest on the WPS issue
If you haven’t been following the WPS issue for the past few weeks, here’s what’s happened. Hundreds of Chinese vessels were recently spotted in the Julian Felipe Reef back in March. These are believed to be manned by Beijing’s militia so the DFA filed a protest. China defends the ships and says they were only taking shelter from “rough sea conditions” despite the clear weather.
After a month of mounting tension between the Philippines and China, President Rodrigo Duterte finally spoke about the issue. But instead of strongly opposing the Chinese government’s encroachment on Philippine waters, he reiterates that we do not want a war with China.
They can say what they want from the Chinese mainland; we continue to assert from our waters by right of international law what we won in The Hague. But we must not fail to protest. @DFAPHL have we fired off a diplomatic protest? Do it now. https://t.co/l2Z3TRq8dX
— Teddy Locsin Jr. (@teddyboylocsin) April 28, 2021
In 2016, the UN-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague invalidated China’s claim in the West Philippine Sea. However, China has rejected the ruling.
Today, the Chinese vessels have dwindled thanks to other countries like the United States lending a helping hand to the Philippines. But the government is still on high alert for any development.