Friday, November 16, 2018
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Sovereign markers to float in PH Rise

Floating “sovereign markers” will be placed in shallow portions of the Philippine Rise to assert the country’s sovereignty over the 13-million-hectare undersea plateau before Independence Day on June 12.

National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. said on Monday that 10 markers or buoys would be installed in Benham Park ahead of the country’s independence celebration.

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Speaking to reporters after attending a Senate hearing on the Philippine Rise, Esperon said the markers costing P12 million each, or a total of P120 million, would be funded from an allocation in this year’s national budget.

Aside from the markers, the government also planned to put up an imagery satellite by the third quarter of the year, and send unmanned aerial vehicles over the area within the year, he added.

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4 Navy vessels

Esperon, a former Armed Forces chief of staff, said three to four Navy vessels would be regularly deployed for patrol duties in the area.

Maritime scientific research remains suspended in the Philippine Rise, though Malacañang says four applications for research, including two from France, one from the United States and one from Russia, are pending.

“They will go through the new rules that we have (set),” Esperon said during the hearing called by the Senate’s committees on science and technology, as well as energy.

He said that under the rules, the government had four months to decide whether it would issue permits to the applicants.

PH continental shelf

Formerly known as Benham Rise, Philippine Rise is a 13-million-hectare undersea plateau off Aurora and Isabela provinces, on the northeastern side of the Philippine archipelago.

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The United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf recognized the area in 2012 as part of the country’s continental shelf.

At the same hearing, the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (Namria) called on the government to push for the nullification of the names China gave to five undersea features of the Philippine Rise before the International Hydrographic Organization.

Namria Assistant Director Capt. Herbert Catapang said Namria “does not recognize the Chinese names, like the position of the government.”

He told Sen. Bam Aquino, the committee chair, that they had asked the Department of Foreign Affairs “to request the UN” to nullify the names.

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TAGS: Benham Rise, Hermogenes Esperon Jr., Maritime Dispute, Philippine Rise
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