The Philippine Rise is “totally ours,” President Duterte declared yesterday, amid plans to set voyage to the massive undersea region northeast of Luzon to assert the country’s sovereign right and jurisdiction.
The President, who has restricted foreign marine exploration in the area formerly known as Benham Rise, acknowledged that he was “sensitive” about the country’s ownership of such territory.
“Gusto ko lang magpunta doon just to make a statement,” Duterte said upon arrival from Singapore. “Dito sa Benham Rise, I’m quite sensitive on that because, you know, what happened. Ayaw ko ng banggitin. But that Benham Rise or Philippine Rise now, it’s totally ours,” he added.
The President pledged anew to wage war if any nation would try to wrest control and ownership of the undersea region which has an area of 24 million hectares and located within the Philippine exclusive economic zone and continental shelf. (Genalyn D. Kabiling)