The government is thinking about the possibility of changing the name of Benham Rise.
BENHAM RISE – To stress jurisdiction over the Benham Rise, the Philippine government is thinking about the possibility of giving the underwater plateau a new name.
Based on a recent news report in Inquirer, Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella expressed in a statement that the Office of the Executive Secretary and the Department of Foreign Affairs have been ordered to check the “possibility” of renaming the Benham Rise to ‘Philippine Rise’.
The underwater plateau which is also known as Benham Rise Plateau can be found east off the province of Aurora.
The 13-million hectare which is rich in mineral resources and gas deposits was named after the chief of the surveyors who discovered the area, American Admiral Andrew Benham based on the report.
Previously, the Filipinos were alarmed after Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana expressed that Chinese vessels were spotted on the area.
On the other side, the China reason out that they were only “exercising navigation freedoms and the right to innocent passage”.
Based on a previous news report, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang even expressed that the Philippines cannot claim that the underwater plateau is its territory.
The underwater plateau has previously been declared by the United Nations as part of the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.
In the midst of rising concerns, Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte said that the country is in no position to declare the war. Nevertheless, he said that he ordered the military to assert PH’s ownership over the area.
According to the Chief Executive, the country has to be diplomatic with China.
“I cannot match the might of China,” Pres. Duterte said .
Reportedly, Pres. Duterte expressed on Friday that China assured him that they won’t claim the underwater plateau.
The issue about the underwater plateau is not the first topic wherein the Philippines and the China were involved in a territorial matter. Last year, the PH-China relationship was challenged by dispute over territories.
The Arbitral Tribunal recognized the Philippines as the country having sovereign rights over the West Philippine Sea. However, China has not yet fully welcomed the ruling of the Court.
It was after the official state visit of Pres. Duterte to China when the ties between the two nations started to became warm again. The President even brought home lots of investment projects for the country.
According to Pres. Duterte, he will have to confront China about the ruling someday and that would might be when China start to extract resources.