Duterte to visit Philippine Rise, launch research study
President Rodrigo Duterte will visit Benham Rise on May 15-16 to celebrate the first anniversary of his renaming the underwater land mass Philippine Rise.
While at Philippine Rise, the President will also lead the launching of the country’s first scientific exploration of the 13-million-hectare, resource-rich underwater plateau located off the coast of Aurora province.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said on Tuesday that 50 Filipino scientists would carry out the study.
The President has previously announced his plan to visit Philippine Rise to assert the country’s sovereignty over the vast area.
On May 16, 2017, he signed Executive Order No. 25 to change the name of the underwater plateau from Benham Rise to Philippine Rise.
His move came after Chinese research vessels were spotted in the rise’s waters. The region is believed to be rich in biodiversity, natural gas and minerals.
Philippine Rise lies within the country’s 370-kilometer exclusive economic zone.
In 2012, the United Nations declared the rise part of the Philippines’ extended continental shelf. This means the Philippines has the exclusive right to explore and exploit resources in the region. —Julie M. Aurelio
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