“The President’s pronouncement is a welcome development. Now we must determine our policy and plans for Benham Rise,” Senate Committee on Science and Technology chair Senator Bam Aquino said.
Senator Aquino also expressed hopes that President Rodrigo Duterte will strictly and consistently enforce his order.
The senator said he is planning to pursue an investigation and get the input and updates from Filipino scientists about their ongoing research and exploration on Benham Rise, now known as Philippine 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 said.
“Let’s support our local scientists in their exploration missions and provide them with the resources they need,” he added.
Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol said that during their February 5 Cabinet meeting, President Duterte ordered the cessation of all marine explorations and studies by foreign scientists in Philippine Rise.
Piñol said that the position of the President allowing foreign explorations accompanied by Filipino researchers “drastically changed following the statement issued by a foreign low-level diplomat suggesting that the Philippines does not own the whole of the Rise.”
Sources: http://senate.gov.ph/press_release/2018/0206_aquino3.asp; https://www.mintfo.com/security-defense/duterte-orders-cessation-of-foreign-explorations-fishing-in-benham/891/