Elma Christine R. Leogardo
Department of National Defense Secretary Delfin N Lorenzana,
Retired Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio T Carpio,
Donor of the Murillo Velarde Map Replica and Chairman of the Asian Institute of Journalism and Communications, Mr. Mel Velarde,
President of the National Defense College of the Philippines, BGen Archimedes H Viaje,
Trustees of the Institute for Maritime & Ocean Affairs,
Ladies and Gentlemen, Good Afternoon.
It is a distinct honor and privilege to welcome you all to this Turn-Over Ceremony of a replica of an original engraving of the Murillo Velarde Map made and first published in Manila in 1734 by Spanish cartographer Jesuit priest Pedro Murillo Velarde, and two (2) Filipinos, engraver Nicolas dela Cruz Bagay and artist Francisco Suarez.
A few years back, the Institute for Maritime & Ocean Affairs (IMOA) which I represent, partnered with the National Defense College of the Philippines in hosting the lecture of then Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio T. Carpio on the “Historical Truths and Lies on Scarborough Shoal,” accompanied by a wide and comprehensive exhibit of ancient maps of the South China Sea, among which was the “Mother of All Philippine Maps,” the 1734 Murillo Velarde Map.
Mr. Mel Velarde, Chairman of the Asian Institute for Journalism and Communications (AIJC), won this map in a heated global auction conducted by Sotheby’s in London in 2014 at the urgent prodding of Justice Carpio. Mr. Velarde has since donated the original Murillo Velarde Map to the Philippine National Museum for the Filipino people. He has also donated replicas of the said map to various institutions for learning in the country. Today, Mr. Velarde is donating this map to the NDCP for the students, professors, lecturers, researchers, and visitors of this College.
Ancient maps of the South China Sea as a whole, and the West Philippine Sea in particular, formed a vital part of the documentary evidence submitted by the Philippines in the arbitration case it filed and WON against China in the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, Netherlands. Among these ancient maps was the “first and most important scientific map of the Philippines,” – the 1734 Murillo Velarde Map.
We are also honored to have with us today DND Secretary Delfin N Lorenzana, who has been the voice of reason, statesmanship, courage, and the rule of law in current national defense and security policy-making.
To tell us more about the significance of the Murillo Velarde Map to the Philippines today, and why is it referred to as the “Mother of All Philippine Maps,” let us listen to our next speakers. Thank you.