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A P100-M effort: UP’s Mahar Lagmay tells what it took for PH to win Benham Rise

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The Philippine government had to shell out more than P100 million to stake its claim on Benham Rise, University of the Philippines geology professor Mahar Lagmay has revealed.

In an interview over ANC’s “Early Edition” last March 16, Lagmay said the effort to prove Benham Rise was part of the country’s continental shelf also involved “geological work and political will.”

Benham Rise is a 13-million hectare area off Luzon that is believed to be rich in natural resources.

As a member of the team that argued for the country’s claim to Benham Rise, Lagmay said his statement before a United Nations commission had to be “accurately worded” and said “in a very clear voice.”

Lagmay, a faculty member of the UP National Institute of Geological Sciences, said the Philippine team was able to win Benham Rise on the strength of the argument on “morphological connection” that it is part of the country’s continental shelf.

“The Philippine team was able to demonstrate that there’s a connection of Philippine land territory under sea or seabed, there’s a connection between the Luzon island and the Benham Rise and from there, we used the Benham Rise to extend our claim beyond 200 nautical miles,” he said.

A UN commission approved the Philippines’ claim to Benham Rise in 2012.