Tuesday 15 May 2018

Philippine Rise is now a Protected Area

Today is the first year anniversary of the renaming of Benham Rise to Philippine Rise.

In a symbolic gesture the President led the send-off the team of 50 Filipino scientists that would undertake marine scientific research in the area.

The President also while onboard BRP Davao Del Sur, has declared portions of Philippine Rise and Eastern Kalayaan as protected areas. The renaming of the underwater land mass was specifically to signify the country’s sovereign rights over the resource-rich region.

In his speech the President formally declared the parts of the Philippine Rise undersea feature as a Maritime Resource Reserve.
President Rodrigo Duterte signing the proclamation declaring portions of the Philippine Rise as a marine protected area (photo credit to GMA News)

“While more than (300,000) hectares shall be designated as a Special Fisheries Management Area,” he added.
The President also led the launching of the country’s first scientific exploration of the resource-rich underwater plateau located off the coast of Aurora province.

“Today, we send off our team of talented and competent Filipino scientists who will undertake the Coordinated National Marine Scientific Research Initiatives and Related Activities or Conmira in the waters above the Philippine Rise,” Duterte said.

“I join the Filipino people in wishing you all the best as you embark on your mission to conduct mapping, surveys, biological investigations and assessment of the coral reef and fisheries stock in the area until November,” he added.

Faith in Filipino Scientists

The President declared that the scientific activities would be vital in the protection and management of the area and its vast resources.

“I have complete faith in the capabilities of our world class scientists and I recognize the need to provide them with the necessary means to fulfill your mandate. Indeed, these developments would not have been possible without the efforts of our dedicated public servants, scientists and legal experts who worked together to bolster our claim over the Philippine Rise,” he said.

“When the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf approved our claim to the Philippine Rise a few years ago, we were not just granted access to the vast resources. We were also entrusted with the responsibility to protect it from abuse and misuse,” he added.

Duterte then told the Filipino scientists to “explore this (new frontier) fully aware of our responsibility to (properly manage) and conserve its natural resources for the benefit of present and future generations of Filipinos.”

“As send off our experts to explore and discover what our seas have to offer, may we all have a renewed sense of commitment to promote the welfare of our people, safeguard our national interest, (and) assert our sovereign rights over our waters and all other areas within our jurisdiction,” the President said.

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Report from Manila Times
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