“Kung Chinese lang, mangangati tayo. Kung Benham, America, hindi tayo mangangati? So when the Americans named Benham Rise, preliminary ba na American? Wala. Bakit tayo allergic dahil Chinese ang nagbigay ng pangalan?” Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III said when asked during an ambush interview to comment on the current development regarding Philippine Rise.
“Kung Amerkano ang nagbigay ng pangalan, okay lang? Spratly’s Island. Pilipino ang nagbigay ng pangalan? Amerikano? Scarborough, Pilipino, Amerikano? Di ba? So what’s the problem. I don’t see the problem,” he added.
“I am sure even without reading the Convention, hindi ko pa nababasa, I’m sure no country has the exclusive power or right to name features, but sovereign rights, iba yun,” he added.
“It is only to name, iba naman yung exercising sovereign rights. Even sovereign rights does not mean sovereignty, mga ganun. Maraming mga nuances po dyan. I am sure yung naming wala naman pong ano yun. Una sa lahat, sabihin ko sa inyo, Benham Rise, sino nagpangalan nyan, tayo din ba? Nagalit na ba tayo? Amerikano bang name yan? Nagalit ba tayo? So ayun, Chinese name, allergic tayo?” he added.
However, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Philippines “object and do not recognize the Chinese names given to some undersea features in the Philippine Rise.”
“Per our Philippine embassy in Beijing, they have already raised our concern to China. They are likewise considering a recommendation to officially notify the Chair of the International Hydrographic Organization – Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans (IHO-IOC GEBCO) Sub-Committee on Undersea Feature Names (SCUFN). The Philippines, as many of you know, is not a member of the SCUFN, which is composed of 12 members,” he added.
“China’s proposals to rename some undersea features in the Philippine were submitted to SCUFN during its meetings in Brazil on Oct 12-16, 2015 & Sept 19-23, 2017,” Roque said.