Thursday 4 May 2017

Philippine Coast Guard makes its presence felt in Benham Rise with its brand new MRRV from Japan

Immediately after the exploration by government officials led by Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol and a group of Filipino scientists May 5-7, Primary objective of which is to assess the area’s potential as food source, the Philippine Coast Guard will start and make there presence  felt again in the Benham rise Region.
Philippine Coast Guard's BRP Tubbataha, the lead ship of her class,one of the ten Multi-Role Response Vessels(MRRVs) acquired by the Philippine government from Japan through a P7.373-billion loan agreement entered with JICA in 2013. BRP Malapascua is the 3rd MRRV that was delivered to the country.the Tubbataha 44-meter class ships of the PCG are law-enforcement ships, with the primary mission of environmental protection. (photo credit naval today website)
The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) will send two of its ships to conduct maritime security patrol at the area.  

The United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf declared back in 2012 to be part of the Philippines' continental shelf and territory, it is situated about 250 kilometers east of Dinapigue, Isabela, has untapped natural resources and is said to be wider than Luzon, Samar and Leyte combined.

Last March, Department of Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana sounded the alarm when a Chinese survey ship was monitored in the area by government authorities that was suspected conducting oceanographic research at Recto or Reed Bank in the West Philippine Sea and at Benham Rise.

The Philippine Coast Guard will deploy one of its brand new Multi-Role Response Vessel BRP Malapascua and the monitoring, control and surveillance vessel MCS 3001 that the Coast Guard jointly operates with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources ( BFAR).

“We would accompany the BFAR in its fish examination. 

However, our Coast Guard officer-in-charge Commodore Joel Garcia also gave a directive to our personnel manning BRP Malapascua and MCS 3001 to also conduct patrol for maritime security operations in the area.” PCG spokesman Commander Armand Balilo said.
With the acquisition of new water assets the Philippine Coast Guard can assert and make Philippine's presence in all our known water territories( photo credit to the Philippine Coast Guard website)

Commander Gary Dale Gimotea skippered the BRP Malapascua while the MCS 3001 is headed by Captain Luisito Sibayan.

The Philippine Coast Guard did not disclose for how long they will conduct maritime patrols in the Benham Rise Region, which is located off the coast of the province of Aurora.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte said last month that he is considering to rename the Benham Rise to Philippine Ridge. The seismically active underwater region, was discovered in 1933 and was named after American geologist Rear Admiral Andrew Benham.

“I will officially claim it as ours, and rename it, hindi Benham Rise. I would call it the Philippine Ridge, kasi parang ridge kasi. Continuous kasi ang continental shelves sa baba eh. So might as we claim a ridge, because it connects one beach to another,” Duterte said.

The Philippine has sovereign rights in the area, enabling it to carry out exploitation and development of natural resources, according to the Convention on the Law of the Sea.

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