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Bam wants PH gov’t to be more assertive in protecting PH Rise

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Benham Rise is “clearly” a Philippine territory and its features are not for China to name, Sen. Bam Aquino stressed on Thursday.

Aquino was reacting to the report that China has “renamed” some of the features of Benham Rise or Philippine Rise, a 13-million-hectare underwater plateau reportedly rich in mineral resources.

“It is only right that the government counter any further moves to name features of our territory and propose remedies for the two formally named by China through the International Hydrographic Organization,” he said.

“I hope that the hearing I will chair on February 26 will bring clarity to the issue and help determine next steps,” said Aquino, chairman of the Committee on Science and Technology.

The senator said that “it is imperative that we protect our territory from any foreign interest.”

“Dapat nang magkaroon ng matibay at malinaw na plano ang pamahalaan sa Philippine Rise, lalo ngayong unti-unti nang kumikilos ang China para ito’y angkinin,” he said.

“Huwag nating isuko na parang West Philippine Sea ang napakahalagang yamang ito,” Aquino said.

He wants to get an update from Filipino scientists about their ongoing research and exploration on Benham Rise.

“In a Senate hearing, our scientists and experts will have the opportunity to present their current findings and plans to study and develop the Philippine rise,” he added.