MANILA—Should another Chinese survey ship appeared off Benham Rise, which is near Aurora and Isabela, Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has ordered the Philippine Navy (PN) to accost and drive away the vessel from the country’s eastern seaboard.
He issued this statement during the first-ever “Kapihan sa Kampo” held at the Honor Hall of the National Defense College of the Philippines, Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City Thursday.
“Another thing, one of their survey ship is also plying the Benham Rise already, last year, I think it was monitored for about three months going there, so I have ordered the Navy that if they see this survey ship this year start to accost them and driving them away also from the eastern side of the Philippines,” the DND chief stressed.
The 13-million-hectare Benham Rise is believed to be a fuel-rich area and awarded to the Philippines by the United Nations in 2012.
Previously, Chinese survey ships were also seen off Scarborough Shoal and Reed Bank surveying the sea bed for possible mineral deposits, he added.
The Chinese has gained total control of Scarborough Shoal (also known as Panatag) after a stand-off with the PN in April 2012.