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West Philippine Sea

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The area designated as "West Philippine Sea" is the slightly darker blue area west of the Philippines.
The area designated as "West Philippine Sea" is the slightly darker blue area west of the Philippines.

West Philippine Sea is the official designation by the Philippine government of eastern parts of the South China Sea which are included in the Philippines' exclusive economic zone. The term is also sometimes incorrectly used to refer to the South China Sea as a whole.


The first use of the term "West Philippine Sea" by the Philippine government was as early as 2011 during the administration of then-President Benigno Aquino III.[1] The naming was intended as symbolic gesture to dispute the China's sovereignty claim over the whole South China Sea.[2]

In September 2012, the Philippine government announced that it would start using the name to refer to waters west of the Philippines as "West Philippine Sea" in government maps, other forms of communication and documents.[1]

2016 PCA ruling

On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled in favor of the Philippines. It clarified that it would not "...rule on any question of sovereignty over land territory and would not delimit any maritime boundary between the Parties".[3][4] The tribunal also ruled that China has "no historical rights" based on the "nine-dash line" map.[3][4]

Legal scope

The maritime areas on the western side of the Philippine archipelago are hereby named as the West Philippine Sea. These areas include the Luzon Sea as well as the waters around within the adjacent to the Kalayaan Island Group and Bajo de Masinloc, also known as Scarborough Shoal.

— Sec. 1, Administrative Order No. 29 (2012)[5]

In Philippine law, the West Philippine Sea refers to only portions of the South China Sea particularly parts of the sea which the Philippine government claims to be part of the country's exclusive economic zone (EEZ). The naming of the area became official through Administrative Order No. 29 issued by then-President Benigno Aquino III on September 5, 2012. The order also cites Presidential Decree No. 1599 which was issued in 1978 during the tenure of then President Ferdinand Marcos which established the Philippine EEZ as well as the Republic Act No. 9522 or the Baselines Law which was enacted into law in 2009 during the administration of then-President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo which delineated the baselines of the Philippine archipelago.[6]

The administrative order asserts the Philippine claim over its EEZ in the South China Sea which conveys the Philippine government's position that it has sovereign rights under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea over the West Philippine Sea area and "inherent power and right to designate its maritime areas with appropriate nomenclature for purposes of the national mapping system".[6]

There is no exact demarcation for the area in the South China Sea which forms the West Philippine Sea.[2]


Under the Administrative Order No. 29, the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority is mandated to use the designation West Philippine Sea in maps produced and published by the government agency. Other government agencies are also required to use the term to popularize the use of the name domestically and internationally.[6]

Prior to the issuance of the order, the Philippines' weather bureau, PAGASA, adopted the name in 2011 to refer to waters west of the country while remained using "Philippine Sea" to refer waters east of the archipelago.[7]


  1. ^ a b "Philippines renames coast 'West Philippine Sea'". South China Morning Post. Agence France-Presse. September 12, 2012. Retrieved June 18, 2019.
  2. ^ a b Heydarian, Javad. "The West Philippine Sea?". The Diplomat. Retrieved June 18, 2019.
  3. ^ a b "PCA Press Release: The South China Sea Arbitration (The Republic of the Philippines v. The People's Republic of China) | PCA-CPA". Retrieved July 12, 2016.
  4. ^ a b Perlez, Jane (July 12, 2016). "Tribunal Rejects Beijing's Claims in South China Sea". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved July 12, 2016.
  6. ^ a b c Ubac, Michael Lim (September 13, 2012). "It's official: Aquino signs order on West Philippine Sea". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved June 18, 2019.
  7. ^ "South China Sea renamed in the Philippines".
This page was last edited on 28 May 2020, at 11:11
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