Benham Rise is ours and ours alone. Let's prevent another Scarborough Shoal incident. China is crossing the line with their presence there.
Chinese survey ships have been spotted east of Luzon—within the Philippines' continental shelf and beyond the disputed South China Sea.
The Navy monitored the presence of the Chinese vessel in Benham Rise for three months, but have yet to determine the purpose of ship’s plying the territory which has been officially recognized as part of the Philippine archipelago.
"I ordered the Navy that if they see this service ship this year, start to accost them and drive them away from the eastern side of the Philippines," Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said.
The Philippines has sent a Note to the Chinese Embassy seeking clarification on this. The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) sent protests to the Chinese ambassador about the activity, which the latter denied. "We cannot drive them away. We do not have the armaments or the might to dislodge them from those areas but we keep on protesting. Even if they ignore the protest, we will still protest."
An international environmental group has urged the establishment of a management framework for the protection of the Philippines' ecologically-rich Benham Rise, in light of recent news of unauthorized foreign incursion in the area.
Benham Rise is a 13-million hectare area off the coast of Aurora province, which the United Nations (UN) recently confirmed as part of the Philippines' continental shelf and territory.
Unlike Scarborough Shoal and other portions of the South China Sea, no other country claims the area that is almost a quarter bigger than the 10.5-million hectare Luzon.
The UN approval means Benham Rise, an underwater plateau by definition, is an extension of the Philippines' continental shelf, an area rich in living and non-living resources like minerals and gas.
"China might have a deeper darker plan ahead for our country's continental shelf massively rich natural resources, as they have positioned their military might in the PWS, or in the spratlys, it may have a sinister plan to takeover the entire country when possible war in the west sea broke out with the US, China , North Korea, and South korea and japan.
I suggest we need to make research and platform stations to monitor our positions in the benham rise, while Duterte is doing a balancing act of a deadly dancing session with this cunning self serving and two face communist country. Or redirect our naval forces in this area, we can no longer afford to outsmart us with this resources hungry manipulative untested superpower."
The Government of the Philippines explores Benham Rise for oil, natural gas and petroleum.
The Department of Energy or DOE will conduct seismic surveys to determine the actual oil and gas content of Benham Rise. The DOE is looking to bid out portions of Benham Rise with a high possibility of including the plateau in the next contracting round for oil, gas and petroleum exploration projects. PECR (Philippine Energy Contracting Round), will need to gather the necessary data to encourage more investors. The Benham Plateau is believed to be rich in natural gas and manganese nodules, and is being eyed by a number of interested bidders. DOE Undersecretary Jose Layug, Jr. said in a briefing that four companies were set to conduct seismic surveys where the Benham Rise is located. “It will take 2 months for the seismic data to be gathered and another 2 months for the full analysis to be completed,” Layug said.
The energy official said they were hoping to include the Benham Rise in PECR 5. The department has successfully concluded the final bidding round for oil, gas and petroleum exploration project under PECR 4 in July of 2012 but the service contract has not been officially awarded to the winning bidders. To date, there are twenty seven service contracts in the Philippines involving Nido, BHP Billiton and Shell Philippines Exploration. However, only Galoc oil fields and Malampaya are consistent in gas, oil and petroleum production. The Department of Energy is pursuing energy sustainability and independence through the development of natural energy resources like coal, oil, gas and petroleum.