‘West Philippine Sea’ ranked only 37th out of 40 preferred names by Filipinos for South China Sea.
(Manila) A recent survey conducted by local public opinion polling body Philippine Mood Metering (PMP) claims that rather than renaming the South China Sea to ‘West Philippine Sea,’ most Filipinos prefer it be called ‘Solenn Heussaff Sea’ instead.
The survey also revealed that ‘West Philippine Sea’ does not even make it to the top ten of preferred names by Filipinos.
Since early June, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) have been pushing for the use of the label ‘West Philippine Sea’ to refer to the body of water traditionally referred to as the South China Sea.
Earlier, Akbayan party-list Representative Walden Bello had filed House Resolution 1350 which seeks to initiate the process of renaming the South China Sea to Western Philippine Sea.
Bello explained that these measures are necessary in asserting Philippine authority over its territories especially in light of recent tensions with China over the disputed Spratly Islands.
“The Philippines government must assert its authority over Philippine territories. By renaming the South China Sea to Western Philippine Sea, we are taking a proactive move that strengthens our claim to these controversial waters and the natural resources found within.” Bello had said early this month.
Meanwhile, presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda explained that the use of local names for the South China Sea is not uncommon in the region.
“All the other nations call the South China Sea based on how they perceive it. Vietnam calls it East Sea so it is but natural for us to call it West Philippine Sea.” Lacierda said.
Critics of the label ‘West Philippine Sea’ have pointed out the lack of legal basis for its use, as well as it being an academic point in the face of Chinese aggression.
PMP’s recent survey, however, has brought more antagonism to the use of ‘West Philippine Sea’ as a legitimate name for the South China Sea as Filipinos themselves do not seem to favor the name.
“If you’re going to rename something at least give it an awesome name. ‘West Philippine Sea’ is just lame.” an anonymous survey respondent indicated in the comments section of the study.
“Definitely ‘Solenn Heussaff Sea’ or ‘San Miguel Pale Pilsea.'” another respondent wrote.
Other names came up as well including ‘Angel Locsin Sea’ and ‘Jollisea’ which all made it to the top ten.
The label ‘West Philippine Sea’ ranked only 37th out of the 40 names suggested by respondents.