“It may have come a bit late but it is a good move just the same,” Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson on Tuesday said in reaction to President Rodrigo Duterte’s order of halting all marine explorations on Philippine Rise.
“Whatever technical information so far gathered by any foreign entity that conducted research in Benham Rise should at the very least be shared to Ph government,” Lacson said in a text message.
Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol announced on Facebook that Duterte made his declaration at the start of the 22nd Cabinet Meeting in Malacañang on February 5.
According to Piñol, Duterte directed three departments namely the Philippine Navy (PN), Philippine Air Force (PAF), Department of National Defense (DND), and the DA.
“President Rody Duterte last night ordered the cessation of all marine explorations and studies by foreign scientists and directed the Philippine Navy to ‘chase out’ any vessel fishing or conducting [research],” Piñol said.
“Let me be very clear about this: the Philippine Rise is ours and any insinuation that it is open to everybody should end with this declaration,” he added, quoting Duterte.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) earlier granted the request of the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Oceanology to conduct research at the Benham Rise.
Magdalo Partylist Representative Gary Alejano on January 23 revealed that the “Ke Xue Hao” Chinese vessel to be used for the marine scientific research in Benham Rise has entered the Philippine territory and was located northeast of Palanan, Isabela.
“China’s research vessel entered Philippine territory on January 22, two days early from the granted duration of the MSR, which starts on January 24 and ends on February 25,” Alejano said in a statement.