With huge area, home of diverse and endemic sea creatures and rich source minerals, Benham Rise definitely a potential area that could boost an economy.
But, the newly-discovered area has already penetrated the international media following the passage of Chinese Ships in the said territory just last week. The territory can be found in the east part of the Philippines, the latter brought the case to United Nations in order to be part of it’s continental shelf.
According to archive data, the Benham Plateau or widely known as Benham Rise, is a seismically active undersea region and extinct volcanic ridge located in the Philippine Sea approximately 250 km (160 mi) east of the northern coastline of Dinapigue, Isabela.
Under the Philippine Sea lie a number of basins including the West Philippine Sea Basin, inside of which is located the Central Basin Fault (CBF).
The Benham Plateau is located in the CBF and its basement probably is a micro-continent.
Several scientific surveys have been made on the feature to study its nature and its impact on tectonic subduction, including one about its effects on the 1990 Luzon earthquake.
One of the international organization which survey the area was Oceana.org, which the latter found several evidences that the area has home thousands and endemic creatures. Some experts even said that it could also have a rich mineral base.
Meanwhile, local scientists sees the significance of the territory to the Philippines.
According to Acedillo, scientists have identified Benham Rise as an area rich in minerals used for the manufacture of high technology components. The area is also rich in oil and natural gas.
“So from a purely economic standpoint, this is a big potential gain for us, but at the same time, there are also security implications to that, because if we’re looking at a country that has no business or no right to be doing what it did, I’m telling you, I simply do not buy the excuse of China that it was merely exercising the right of innocent passage,” Acedillo explained.
In April 2009, the Philippines claimed this feature as part of its continental shelf in a claim lodged with the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, and which was approved under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in 2012.
The question of local and foreign observers, is it another territorial dispute between the Philippines and China?
It can be remembered that the two nations in the last few years fought for the ownership of Spratly’s areas that lies on the South China Sea.
The Hague Tribunal in 2016, decided that Philippines has the jurisdiction over the said territories and China did not respect the decision for which the latter believed that UN has no jurisdiction over the dispute.