The Government of the Philippines has formally filed a petition with the United Nations to correct the universal record which lists countries according to their size and territorial area.
In a note verbale signed by President NoyNoy Aquino, delivered today by the country’s Permanent Representative to the U.N., Libran Cabactulan, the government asserted that the Philippines is almost twice the size than what is currently on record in world almanacs.
In terms of size, the Philippines is the 73rd largest country in the world (out of 249 countries and territories). Its total area is 300,000 kilometers (120,000 miles), of which 298,170 kilometers is land the remaining is water (surface areas of inland water bodies like lakes, reservoirs and rivers).
However, it is a fact that the Philippines is much larger than 300,000 kilometers considering that it is an archipelago consisting of 7,100 islands, each surrounded by water. Many countries like the United States include their territorial waters when defining their total area.
Territorial waters, on the other hand, is defined by the 1982 United National Convention on the Law of the Sea, as a belt of coastal waters extending at 12 nautical miles or 22.2 kilometers (13.8 miles) from the coastal baseline.
In other words, if the Philippines’ surrounding and territorial waters are taken into account, it would be larger than Japan, Germany, Finland, Norway, Poland or Italy.
The Aquino administration decided to file the petition as it continues to challenge China’s claim over the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. The Philippines maintains that the disputed islands are part of its territory.
“We have to assert our territorial rights from the position of strength – and size – and correcting the record on how large our country actually is, would do just that,” Aquino said in the note verbale.