Duterte to send off Filipino scientists to study Philippine Rise
President Rodrigo Duterte will lead the send-off of Filipino scientists who will conduct research in the Philippine Rise, formerly known as Benham Rise, east of Luzon.
In a press briefing on Tuesday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte will visit the Philippine Rise as part of the commemoration when he issued an executive order on May 16, 2017, renaming Benham Rise as Philippine Rise.
"This is on May 15 to 16. And it will also be to launch the start of scientific research to be conducted by around 50 scientists. So the event will be attended by the 50 scientists whom the president will be sending off, as they start their scientific researches in Philippine Rise," he said.
The researchers are all Filipinos.
Last February, Duterte ordered all foreign research in the Philippine Rise be stopped following criticisms for allowing Chinese to conduct a study in the area.
The Philippine Rise is a 13-million-hectare undersea plateau approximately 160 nautical miles east of Luzon and off the provinces of Isabela and Aurora. It is located in the Central Basin Fault under the West Philippine Sea.
Scientific data on seismic, magnetic and other geological features of Benham Rise indicate that the region is an extension of the country’s continental shelf. The plateau is bigger than Luzon, or almost half the country’s total land area.
A full territorial claim was lodged by the Philippines with the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (UNCLOS) on April 9, 2009. In April 2012, UNCLOS recognized and officially approved the country's claim. In effect, the territory of the Philippines increased from 30 million hectares to 43 million hectares. Celerina Monte/DMS