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Posted on Sunday Jul 12th at 12:00am

By Janvic Mateo

MANILA, Philippines – Filipino netizens are urging technology giant Google to remove from its maps service a Chinese reference to the disputed Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal in the West Philippine Sea.

A Change.Org petition said Google Maps has identified the shoal, located off the coast of Zambales, as part of China’s Zhongsha Islands – a group of submerged reefs and shoals in the area being claimed by several countries, including the Philippines. Panatag Shoal is within the Philippines’ 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

“China’s sweeping claim of South China Sea under their nine-dash line purportedly historical boundary is illegal and is creating tension among nations,” read the petition (http://chn.ge/1LXhtSk), which had over 400 supporters as of yesterday.

“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,” it added.

Several Filipino netizens have called on the tech giant to remove the Chinese reference, especially since the map has opted to use the more neutral Scarborough Shoal instead of its Philippine name Bajo de Masinloc or Panatag Shoal or the Chinese name Huangyan Island.

“The use of that name promotes the violation of the UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Laws of the Seas) if it perpetuates China’s unlawful claim,” said Quezon City resident Julian Chris Galvez.

“Google, you are not the UN, nor China, nor the Philippines. You have no right to arbitrarily assign land of sovereign nations to other nations,” added Paul Michael Co of Makati City.

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