Para sa Pinoy lang! Duterte bans foreign research at Benham Rise
President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered a halt to the marine explorations being conducted by foreign scientists at Benham Rise.
Duterte made the announcement during the Cabinet meeting on February 5, according to Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol.
“Let me be very clear about this: the Philippine Rise is ours and any insinuation that it is open to everybody should end with this declaration,” Pìñol quoted Duterte as saying during the meeting.
“Henceforth, only Filipino scientists will be allowed to conduct researches and exploration in the Philippine Rise,” Duterte added.
In connection with his order, the President directed the Department of National Defense to deploy Navy vessels and the Philippine Air Force to fly over Benham Rise to check the presence of foreign vessels.
Piñol said Duterte banned foreign research at Benham Rise after a “low level diplomat” from an unnamed foreign country said Benham Rise, which is also known as Philippine Rise, does not belong to any particular country.
Benham Rise is a 25-million hectare continental shelf located off the coast of Aurora extending to the Pacific Ocean.
Thirteen hectares of Benham Rise has been declared by the United Nations as part of the Philippines’ Exclusive Economic Zone while the remaining 12-million hectares is part of the country’s extended continental shelf.
The Department of Foreign Affairs recently granted permission to a Chinese group to conduct research at Benham Rise after assuring that a Filipino scientist will be on board.