Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has inked an Executive Order 25, document that officially changing the name of Benham Rise to Philippine Rise.
According to the leader’s order dated May 16, Duterte emphasized that Benham Rise is subject to the sovereign rights and jurisdiction of the Philippines pursuant to provisions of the Constitution, national legislation, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and applicable international laws.
The new executive order mandating the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority to call the name “Philippine Rise” instead of “Benham Rise” in official maps and charts of the Philippines that include the region.
The newest “claimed” territory of Manila, once name as Benham Rise is an underwater plateau which has an area approximately 24 million hectares in size, is located within the country’s exclusive economic zone.
The size of the plateau is one and half of Luzon, biggest island of the country.
It can be remembered that on April 12, 2012, the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf approved the submission of the Philippines with respect to the limits of its continental shelf in the area.
With the UN commission’s approval, it permits the Philippines to carry out exploration and development of natural resources in the region.
Meanwhile, last month country’s Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana confirmed that Chinese survey ships have conducted oceanographic research in the region, pushing the Department of Foreign Affairs to seek clarification from the Chinese Embassy in Manila.
President Duterte also insisted in different talking engagement that Benham rise is owned solely by the Philippine government.
Last April, when Duterte administration has expressed its step on changing the name of the plateau in order to insist ownership.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry then claimed that the Philippines cannot claim Benham Rise as its own despite the approval of the UN commission, but it already retracted its previous statemet and said they fully respect the Manila’s rights over the continental shelf.
In 1933, American admiral and geologist Andrew Benham discovered the undersea region.situated 250 kilometers east of Dinapigue, Isabela.