The Philippine claim over the Spratly Islands began in May 1956, when Tomas Cloma, owner of a Philippine fishing vessel company and director of the Philippine Maritime Institute, declared the founding of the new state called "Kalayaan" (Eng.: freedom). He found the islands while he, with his brothers and 40 crew, was adventuring in the vast South China Sea. Observing that there was no human settlement nor national flag present on them, he decided to establish the Kalayaan state. He posted a document in English, entitled Notice to the Whole World, on all features he claimed. His claim comprises about fifty features among the Spratly group. His declaration was met with violent reactions from other countries like China and South Vietnam, as well as the European countries of France, United Kingdom, and theNetherlands, who were representing their colonies in Southeast Asia. While the Philippines did not endorse the new state to the world, it acknowledged it as the true sovereign state. In September 1956, after the Republic of China occupied the largest island, Ligao Island (Itu Aba), Tomas Cloma decided to cede and sell all the territories of his state to the Philippines for just one peso (US$0.50 of the time).
March 2 incident in which the Philippine government accused two Chinese patrol boats of harassing a Filipino oil exploration ship into leaving a vast area called the Reed Bank. A Filipino general scrambled two military aircraft, which arrived at the scene after the Chinese vessels had left, the Philippine military said.
China and the Philippines have swapped diplomatic protests. Filipino officials say the Reed Bank, which lies off the western Philippine province of Palawan, is not a disputed territory. China countered by saying that it has jurisdiction over the Spratlys and adjacent waters.