|Born||Tomás Cloma y Arbolente
September 18, 1904
Panglao, Bohol, Philippines
|Died||September 18, 1996
|Occupation||Businessman and Lawyer|
Tomás Cloma (18 September 1904 – 18 September 1996) was a Filipino lawyer and businessman from the province of Bohol. Cloma was born in Panglao to Ciriaco Cloma, a Spanish settler, and Irena Arbolente, a native of Bohol.
Free Territory of Freedomland
In 1947, Cloma, a Filipino adventurer and a fishing magnate, found several unoccupied groups of islands in the South China Sea. This forms part of the justification of territorial claims by the Philippines of the Spratly islands (along with doctrines from the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea).
Cloma, owner of a fishing fleet and a private maritime training institute, the PMI Colleges (formerly known as Philippine Maritime Institute), aspired to open a cannery and develop guano deposits in the Spratlys. It was principally for economic reasons, therefore, that he "discovered" and claimed islands in the Spratlys.
On May 11, 1956, together with 40 men, Cloma took formal possession of the islands, lying some 380 miles (612 km) west of the southern end of Palawan and named them Freedomland. Four days later, on May 15, 1956, Cloma issued and posted copies of his "Notice to the Whole World" on each of the islands as a manifestation of unwavering claims over the territory. On May 31, 1956, Cloma declared the establishment of the Free Territory of Freedomland, ten days after he sent his second representation to the Secretary of Foreign Affairs informing the latter that the territory claimed was named Freedomland. On July 6, 1956, Cloma declared to the whole world his claim and the establishment of a separate government with its capital on Flat Island (also known as Patag Island). Cloma introduced a distinction between his Freedomland and the Spratlys further west. This distinction later became part of the Philippines' foreign policy. This distinction was never fully clarified. It seems that Freedomland encompasses most of what others call the Spratly Islands, but not Spratly Island itself, nor the banks and reefs lying to the west of it.
Cloma's declaration was met with hostile reactions from several neighboring countries, especially the Republic of China, or Taiwan. On September 24, 1956 the ROC reoccupied nearby Itu Aba Island (also known as Taiping Island), which it had abandoned in 1950, and intercepted Cloma’s men and vessels found within its immediate waters. The People's Republic of China, or Mainland China, also restated its own claim.
According to a website set up by the "Kingdom of Colonia St John", Freedomland apparently became known as The Kingdom of Colonia St John under "His Majesty John I King of Colonia St John" and "Prince of Mariveles and Amboyna" to whom the succession passed from Admiral Tomas Cloma.[better source needed]
The Free Territory of Freedomland should not be confused with the Principality of Freedomland or the Republic of Koneuwe which was set up by a French swindler also in the Spratlys but not on the same islands.
- DFA lodges diplomatic protest on Spratlys harassment incident, April 6, 2011.
- Macdonald, Ian. "Spratly Islands". Flagspot.net. Retrieved 30 June 2013.
- Baker & Wiencek 2002, p. 19, citing Samuels 1982, pp. 81–86.
- Baker & Wiencek 2002, pp. 19, 29–30 (Footnote 21, citing Samuels 1982, pp. 81–86)
- Kivimäki 2002, p. 13
- Womack 2006, p. 218 (Footnote 18)
- Kingdom of Colonia St John website.
- Baker, John C.; Wiencek, David G. (2002), Cooperative Monitoring in the South China Sea, Greenwood Publishing Group, ISBN 0-275-97182-1
- Kivimäki, Timo (2002), War Or Peace in the South China Sea?, Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS), ISBN 87-91114-01-2
- Samuels, Marwyn S (1982), Contest for the South China Sea, Methuen, ISBN 0-416-33140-8
- Womack, Brantly (2006), China and Vietnam, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-85320-6