New standard map to follow PH rights under 2016 arbitral ruling, UNCLOS — NSC

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 13) — The National Security Council (NSC) on Wednesday said an updated Philippine map highlighting the country's maritime entitlements is underway in line with the 2016 arbitral ruling and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

"This is something that we have been working on already, we hope to be able to make an announcement very soon…we are seriously considering it and we already have something in the works," NSC spokesperson Jonathan Malaya told CNN Philippines' The Source.

The Philippines in August filed a protest against China after the latter released its updated standard map showing 10 dashes that form a U shape, claiming nearly the entire South China Sea as part of its territory. The area overlaps with the exclusive economic zones (EEZ) of the Philippines, as well as those of Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam, and Indonesia. 

Malaya said the Philippines' updated map is still undergoing an approval process, but this will conform to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the 2016 Arbitral Award.

This landmark ruling invalidated China's expansive claims in the South China Sea, with the arbitral tribunal largely ruling in favor of Manila in its EEZ and continental shelf that are being claimed by Beijing.

Malaya said the map may also reflect the Philippine Rise which is the extended continental shelf on the eastern side of the country.

The Philippine Rise, formerly called the Benham Rise, is a 13-million hectare underwater plateau near Aurora and is believed to be a good source of natural gas and other resources.

Asked about the development, retired Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said he agrees with the crafting of such a map.

“Yes, we should have our own map showing our EEZ and extended continental shelf in the WPS (West Philippine Sea),” he said.

Maritime law expert Jay Batongbacal also welcomed the move "particularly if it will publicize the full extent of our maritime domain in accordance with the 2016 South China Sea Arbitration Award."

"Such an action would be among the needed actions to implement the Award. It would also be a good way of informing and assuring our people of the full extent of our archipelago," he added.