MANILA, Philippines - A government digital pamphlet has been launched to help Filipinos and everyone else understand the Philippines' dispute with China over the West Philippine Sea.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) launched the digital version of the pamphlet, "Ang West Philippine Sea: Isang Sipat," last week.
The pamphlet and the idea of including the country's maritime dispute with China in the school curriculum are part of government efforts to raise public awareness of the subject.
The digital version of the pamphlet may be downloaded from www.dfa.gov.ph and the DFA's Facebook page. Printed copies will be distributed to all Philippine diplomatic posts abroad and DFA consular offices in the country.
Noting that the current focus was on the maritime disputes in the West Philippine Sea, DFA spokesman and Assistant Secretary Charles Jose underscored the need "to foster the archipelagic consciousness" among Filipinos.
"By understanding the fundamental link between our maritime heritage and our identities as Filipinos, we build the unshakeable will to defend our maritime domain. That is the purpose of this pamphlet and all the other public diplomacy efforts we have been undertaking," Jose said in a statement.
The Philippines was given by the United Nations arbitration tribunal until March to submit further written arguments on the West Philippine Sea.
Manila had gone to the UN tribunal to ask it to resolve China's nine-dash line claim of almost the entire South China Sea, which includes the West Philippine Sea.
China has refused to participate in the tribunal's proceedings but in December it issued a position paper saying that the UN court had no jurisdiction over the issue because it was not a maritime but a territorial issue.
Written in Filipino, the digital pamphlet seeks to "serve as an accessible and comprehensive resource material on the West Philippine Sea."