Duterte has officially changed Benham Rise to Philippine Rise!

Duterte renames Benham Rise to Philippine Rise

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has officially changed the name of Benham Rise, an undersea region that is part of Philippine territory, to Philippine Rise.

Philippines, in the exercise of its sovereign rights and jurisdiction, has the exclusive power to designate its submarine areas with appropriate nomenclature for purposes of the national mapping system, Duterte said in Executive Order (EO) 25 he signed on May 16.

"The undersea feature presently known as Benham Rise in local and international maps and charts, shall henceforth be referred to as the Philippine Rise," Duterte said in Section 1 of EO 25.

The President tasked the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (Namria) to indicate the name “Philippine Rise,” in lieu of the name Benham Rise, in all official maps and charts of the Philippines.

He also instructed the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), in consultation with Namria and other concerned agencies, to transmit the appropriate notifications to the concerned international organizations.

The funding will be sourced from the DFA and other concerned agencies for the effective and full implementation of the EO. The 24-hectare Benham Rise undersea plateau off Luzon is touted to be a rich source of natural gas deposits and mineral resources.

Duterte renamed Benham Rise to Philippine Rise following reports that China was seen patrolling near the Philippine-owned territory for three months in 2016.

Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella had said the Chief Executive wanted to change the name of Benham Rise to "emphasize the Philippine sovereign rights and jurisdiction over the area." The President earned criticisms for supposed inaction on China's presence on Benham Rise.

In April, he admitted that he gave China a green light to conduct research activities near the underwater landmass but assured that China is not inclined to claim Benham Rise.

On April 12, 2012, the United Nations (UN) Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf ruled under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea that Benham Rise fell under the Philippine exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, as well as the outer limits of the continental shelf.
(Read more: SunStar)

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