MANILA, PHILIPPINES — There is a report that a Chinese survey ship appeared and spotted in the vicinity of Benham Rise which is part of the Philippine territory near the eastern side of Luzon.
The Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has ordered the Philippine Navy (PN) to address and drive away the Chinese vessel from the country’s eastern seaboard, the Benham Rise.
Previously, Chinese survey ships were also seen off Scarborough Shoal and Reed Bank surveying the seabed for possible mineral deposits, Lorenzana said.
But unfortunately, after a stand-off with the PN in April 2012, the Chinese has gained total control of Scarborough Shoal (also known as Bajo de Masinloc or Panatag shoal).
Lorenzana 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.
Lorenzana stressed that one of their survey ships 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.”
Benham Rise has been granted to the Philippines by the United Nations in 2012, with an approximate size of 13-million-hectares. It is believed to be a fuel rich region and considers to contain a billion barrels of oil and natural gas deposits. -JCE.