MANILA – A House of Representatives panel has approved a resolution seeking a PHP100-million budget allocation to fund the extensive survey mapping and exploration of the Philippine Rise, formerly known as Benham Rise or Benham Plateau.
In a statement issued Tuesday, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, chaired by Isabela Rep. Ana Cristina Siquian Go, approved House Resolution 45 calling for PHP100 million in funding for the survey mapping of the undersea region, as well as marine exploration of its mineral deposits as an alternative source of energy.
The resolution also sought to rename the region as “Philippine Northeast Continental Shelf” to mark the proprietary right of the country over the area.
Philippine Rise is a 13-million-hectare undersea region approximately 160 nautical miles east of Luzon and off the coast of Isabela and Aurora.
In 2012, the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf ruled that Philippine Rise is part of the country’s extended continental shelf.
According to HR 45, initial marine explorations and scientific surveys revealed that the Philippine Rise is rich in marine resources and has massive mineral and gas deposits that could help boost the country’s energy sufficiency.
“With the inclusion of (Philippine Rise) as part of the Philippine territory resulting in an increase of our marine area, it is inevitable that our existing map is amended and a looming need to exactly identify the area for reference and serve as raw data for investors to use,” the resolution read.
The resolution directs the Department of Science and Technology, Department of Environment and Natural Resources and Department of Agriculture to execute necessary measures and related activities for the survey mapping of the Philippine Rise.