In order to insist its sovereignty over Benham Rise, Philippine government is planning to change its name to simply “Philippine Rise,” a move to officially stand for its ownership over the territory.
According to country’s Department of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Charles Jose, the government is considering to replace the name of the newest Manila territory.
The move comes after some report of alleged manning Chinese research vessel over the newfound plateau in the country’s eastern region.
Personally, Philippine Ambassador to China Mr. Chito Sta. Romana confirms the report that a Chinese vessel was caught staying in the said area from November 2016 to January 2017.
United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) allows every nation to explore territories only for scientific and research purposes and as long as it does not damage and going deep through the sea bed.
In 2016, according to local report, China seek permission to the Manila government for three times but the latter give conditions in allowing the exploration only when the team will be personally joined by a Filipino scientist to ensure that the mission is solely for scientific research.
It can be remembered that back in 2012 UNCLOS gives the Philippines the exclusive rights to explore Benham Rise, three years after the country filed an ownership before the UN body.
Foreign and local experts sees Benham Rise as a territory with rich source of natural gas, an answer to the nation’s growing oil dependency to the global market.
Also, the territory is known as home of different endemic sea creatures that can only be seen in the region.