MANILA (DWDD) – Benham Rise is part of our marine territory “that is why we exercise our marine rights and jurisdiction.”
This was the statement made by Department of Foreign Affairs Spokesman and Assistant Secretary Charles Jose on the issue of the 13-million-hectare area located east of Luzon island and believed to be rich in gas.
He said that Benham Rise is part of the Philippines maritime territory within our Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), including the extended continental shelf and as we recognize freedom of navigation including the right of innocent passage of other countries passing our EEZ, we also also exercise sovereign rights, jurisdiction and sole right to explore, exploit and manage the natural resources of Benham Rise.
“I think it is our responsibility to conserve and protect what is ours against anyone who want to enter our EEZ without our permission,” Jose said.
The Philippine government is asking China for clarifications on why their “maritime research ship” passed by at slow pace which is not normal under the principle of “freedom of navigation” and “right to innocent passage.” MCAG