Philippines may win claim over Benham Plateau in 2012–DENR
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine territory might expand next year by 13 million hectares or an area bigger than Luzon when the country wins its claim over the Benham Plateau also known as Benham Rise, Environment Secretary Ramon Paje said on Monday.
The Philippines is the only claimant of Benham Plateau, located in front of Isabela and Aurora provinces or a portion of the Eastern Seaboard.
Paje said the land was discovered in 1933 but the Philippines only filed its claim at the United Nations on the Law of the Seas (UNCLOS) in 2008.
And the government is confident that it would get a favorable resolution on the case when the UNCLOS meets in June 2012.
“This is bigger than Luzon. This is Luzon plus Samar and Leyte,” Paje said at a press conference after attending a budget hearing in the Senate.
“This very relevant because it is rich in mineral and gas deposit,” he said, “It contains solid methane.”
Senator Frankilin Drilon, chairman of the Senate finance committee, said the Philippine territory would increase to 43 million hectares from the present 30 million hectares.
Once the Benham Rise was established as part of the Philippines, Drilon said it would now give legal basis for the country to enter into exploration agreements with private entities.
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