MANILA –The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Monday said the Philippine government will protect the country’s sovereign rights like the Benham Rise off east of Luzon.
DFA Spokesman and Assistant Secretary Charles Jose said every nation needs to protect their territory against any aggressor.
“Strengthening our capability is our way to assert and protect our sovereign rights and jurisdiction over our maritime entitlements,” Jose told reporters covering DFA in a text message.
He did not elaborate how and what form to protect our sovereign rights.
The Philippines’ claim to Benham Rise, a 13-million-hectare area is located east of Luzon island believed to be gas-rich, was approved by the United Nations in 2012.
China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang had acknowledged the 2012 ruling of the United Nations but said “it does not mean that the Philippines can take it as its own territory.”
Geng confirmed Chinese vessels for “marine research” passed through Benham Rise, but insisted this was only in exercise of the principle of “freedom of navigation” and “right to innocent passage.”