Chinese research vessel now inside PHL – Alejano

Chinese comprehensive research vessel Ke Xue Hao which will conduct maritime scientific research in Benham Rise is now inside Philippine territory.

“As of today, January 23, the Ke Xua Hao was located northeast of Palanan, Isabela. China’s research vessel entered Philippine territory on January 22, two days early from the granted duration of the MSR which starts on January 24 and ends on February 25,” Magdalo Party-List Representative Gary Alejano said.

“What we should make sure now is the compliance of China to all the requirements demanded by the Philippine government as conditions to the permit issued. In particular, we should be wary on the sharing of information that will be culled from the said expedition. Filipino scientists on board should be given equal access to all results of the research activity,” Alejano said.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has allowed Institute of Oceanology of Chinese Academy of Sciences (IO-CAS) to conduct marine scientific research (MSR) in eastern Luzon, where Benham Rise is located, and eastern Mindanao to be joined by the University of the Philippines – Marine Science Institute (UP-MSI).

Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque said during January 23 press briefing in Malacañang that the said research will bring Philippines “closer to the truth”.

“[It] gives us a better understanding of what Benham Rise has; gives us a better understanding of how we can better utilize the resources of Benham Rise,” he added.

“Only China has qualified so far. There are other applicants, unfortunately they did not qualify according to fixed guidelines already set by the government,” Roque added.