GMA Network on Monday received a replica of the historic Murillo Velarde 1734 map that bolstered the Philippines’ claim in a maritime dispute with China.
In a ceremony at GMA Network Center, Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio and businessman Mel Velarde turned over the replica to the network officials led by chairman and chief executive officer Felipe L. Gozon.
“The map was brought here last April. I was here two years ago interviewed by Howie (Severino) and I promised to him that we will bring an official replica here. And you are the only — first And only — media company that will get the official replica, considering that this institution has deep interest and desire to push and inject and imbibe a sense of history and love of country to our fellow Filipinos,” said Velarde.
The map is significant for its role in the Philippines’ case against China, as it featured a tiny island labeled “Panacot” that was later named Bajo de Masinloc or Scarborough Shoal, as well as rocks and islands of Spratlys named “Los Bajos de Paragua” in the map.
Carpio discovered the map among the heirlooms of an English duke to be auctioned by Sotheby’s London in November 2014. This prompted Velarde to bid for the artifact, ending up purchasing it for P12 million.
Velarde later donated the original to the Philippine government.
Carpio noted that the map served to debunk the “fake history” being spread by China over its massive claims over the South China Sea, as it showed that the disputed islands have been documented to be part of Philippine territory.
Gozon said the map will be displayed prominently at GMA Network Center.
“Of course we’re very thankful and we’re going to really put this piece of valuable treasure at the lobby so that students who come here to visit, they stay at the lobby, right? And the employees, they all pass through the lobby. So that would be the best,” said Gozon. —JST, GMA News