“Wala tayong titulo sa Benham Rise because what we have is sovereign rights,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said during today’s press briefing in Malacañang.
“Sovereign rights, is different from title. Sovereign rights, is the exclusive right to explore and exploit the natural and non-living resources, natural resources found in the area,” he said.
He said the Philippines made an application for an extended continental shelf in Benham Rise.
“Now, as early as 2012, this was awarded to the Philippines,” he said.
“I’m proud to state that when I first became director of the UP’s Institute of Legal Studies, that was our number one project, to collate scientific data to make the submission. We did, and we were granted Benham Rise as part of our extended continental shelf,” he added.
“We do not have sovereignty in the Benham Rise because what we only have in the Benham Rise as part of extended continental shelf is the right to explore and exploit the natural resources found thereat,” he explained.
“Kasama po sa exclusive na karapatan ng sovereign rights ay iyong desisyon, iyong sovereign decision na payagan iyong ibang mga bansa na mag-conduct ng scientific studies, because it is sovereign, because it is exclusive,” he said.