Duterte to visit Philippine Rise on May 15-16

By Jelly Musico

May 8, 2018, 5:47 pm

MANILA – President Rodrigo R. Duterte will lead the commemoration of the renaming of Benham Rise to Philippine Rise by visiting the natural submarine prolongation of the Luzon Island on May 15 to 16.

“The President will be commemorating the renaming of Benham Rise to Philippine Rise by visiting the Philippine Rise itself; and this is on May 15 to 16,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a Palace press briefing Tuesday.

Roque said Duterte will also launch the start of scientific research to be conducted by an all-Filipino team composed of 50 scientists.

“So the event will be attended by the 50 scientists whom the President will be sending off, as they start their scientific researches in Philippine Rise,” Roque said.

On May 16, 2017, Duterte signed Executive Order No. 25 changing the name of the undersea feature to Philippine Rise.

“The Benham Rise Region is subject to sovereign rights and jurisdiction of the Philippines pursuant to relevant provisions of the 1987 Philippine Constitution, national legislation, and the UNCLOS and applicable international law,” stated in EO 25.

In 2012, the United Nations, through recommendations of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS), approved the Philippines’ claim that the Philippine Rise is within the country’s 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone.

Last month, Duterte announced that he is going to sail to Benham Rise to “make a statement there that nobody but nobody owns this place including the continental shelf, the underground land mass that extends under the sea”.

He was earlier quoted as saying, “I will go to war” if foreign countries would claim the area which is potentially rich in mineral and natural gas deposits.

The President earlier issued an order requiring all international researchers to secure permission from the Philippine government if they wish to conduct studies on Philippine Rise.

Duterte said Filipino researchers will be given priority in exploring the 13-million hectare undersea plateau off Aurora province. (PNA)