FILE PHOTO: Snapshot of a DA-BFAR video on Benham Rise / Philippine Rise
MANILA, Philippines — Following Beijing’s move to rename five underwater sea features of Benham or Philippine Rise after it conducted a marine research in the area in 2004.
Some senators led by Senator Antonio Trillanes IV called on the Duterte administration to file a diplomatic protest against China.
The International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) approved last year the names given by China to the said sea features.
What irks the senator is that Beijing used Chinese names for the sea features despite the United Nations’ recognition that the Benham Rise is part of the Philippines territory.
According to Trillanes, the filing of diplomatic protest shows the Philippines’ strong opposition to China’s move.
“We are not agreeing to what they did. But this administration has not filed a diplomatic protest or even verbally opposed it. We heard nothing from them,” said Trillanes.
Several senators are in favor of filing such diplomatic protest against China.
“What China has been doing is already bullying the Philippine government,” said Sen. JV Ejercito.
“They cannot claim it. The United Nations has already declared that this is a part of our extended continental shelf. That’s very clear,” said Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian.
Senator Panfilo Lacson has expressed concern that Beijing might grab the Benham Rise next.
“Kung pinangalan na nila ng mga Chinese names ‘yung mga seamounts, hindi far-fetched na sabihin nila na kanila na naman ‘yun,” said Lacson.
(If they named seamounts with Chinese names, it’s not far fetched that they will soon grab them.)
However, Senate President Aquilino Pimentel is not concern over the matter.
“I’m not bothered. Read the rules who can propose names and who can oppose the proposals,” said Sen. Koko Pimentel.
Meantime, Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque said that the government does not recognize the names given by China to the undersea features of Philippine Rise.
Roque said that the Duterte administration already recommended to the Philippine embassy in Beijing to inform about the matter the Chinese government and the commission in charge of undersea features of countries or the International Hydrographic Organization. — Mai Bermudez | UNTV News and Rescue
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