Senator Win Gatchalian said that the government should now focus on building naval and research facilities near the Philippine Rise region to fast-track the exploration of its full potential for the benefit of the Filipino people.
“There is an urgent need for us to hasten the conduct of extensive research so we can map out strategies on how to develop the area and use its rich natural resources to enrich the lives of the Filipino people,” said Gatchalian, who is the chairman of the Senate Committee on Economic Affairs.
Malacañang announced that President Rodrigo Duterte has signed Executive Order No. 25, renaming the Benham Rise to Philippine Rise, a move which the senator supports.
“Changing its name has put emphasis on our sovereign jurisdiction over this vast mass of underwater plateau. Now that we have done that, government must now shift its attention to how to utilize its natural resources before our neighbors discover its hidden treasures,” Gatchalian said.
The Senate Committee on Economic Affairs is now finalizing its recommendations on the creation of the Benham Rise Development Authority (BRDA), as proposed by Senator Sonny Angara, to spearhead research and development efforts over the resource-rich area.
The Philippine Rise, or Benham Rise, is a 24-million hectare underwater plateau located about 250 kilometers east of Northern Luzon. It is within the Philippine exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, as well as the outer limits of the continental shelf, in accordance with the recommendations of the Commission on Limits of the Continental Shelf issued on 12 April 2012.