Malacañang: So far, only China qualified to conduct research in Benham Rise

“It brings us closer to the truth; 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,” Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque said during today’s press briefing in Malacañang.

This is after the Liberal Party made some questions on why China was allowed to conduct maritime scientific research in Benham Rise.

“What will the country stand to gain from this marine scientific research? Why do we need to partner with China? Can’t the Philippines do it on its own? What is in store for China after the research? How long will this be carried out, and what will be the coverage of the research? What are the mechanisms and guidelines in place in the conduct of the activity?” the Liberal PArty said in a statement released by Senator Francis Pangilinan.

“Because 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 said as response on why partner with China.

He added that a Filipino partner was not chosen “because no one has a plight. And no one can do it because, apparently, it’s capital intensive.”

“You do not need a permit for any Filipino corporation to conduct scientific investigation in Benham Rise because it is ours so that’s not something that a consent has to be given by the government,” he added.