Philippine Rise only for Filipinos – Duterte

“The President ordered that henceforth only Filipinos now can conduct scientific research and only Filipinos can explore and exploit national resources in the Benham Rise,” Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque said during the February 6 press briefing in Malacañang.

Roque said President Rodrigo Duterte ordered that only Filipinos will be allowed to conduct scientific research, lay submarine cables, explore and exploit national resources in Philippine Rise.

“The President also enjoined all members of the Cabinet to refer to the area as Philippine Rise and not as Benham Rise,” he added.

According to Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol the position of the President “drastically changed following the statement issued by a foreign low-level diplomat suggesting that the Philippines does not own the whole of the Rise.”

President Duterte also ordered the Philippine Navy to “chase out” vessels conducting fishing and research in the 13-million hectare continental shelf east of Luzon, Piñol said.