Senator wants Benham Rise be officially called 'Philippine Rise'

Published May 27, 2021, 9:16 AM

by Vanne Elaine Terrazola

Senator Francis Tolentino is pushing to rename the Benham Rise as the Philippine Rise or “Talampas ng Pilipinas” to assert the country’s sovereign rights over the resource-rich undersea plateau.

Senator Francis Tolentino (Senate of the Philippines)

In the Senate Bill No. 2235 he filed Monday, May 24, which was released to media Thursday, May 27, Tolentino said his proposal will complement President Duterte’s Executive Order No. 25, which, on May 16, 2017, changed the area’s name to Philippine Rise.

In April, 2012, the United Nations confirmed that the Philippine Rise is part country’s extended continental shelf. Under international law, no other state may exploit or undertake exploration activities in the Philippine Rise without express consent of the Philippines.

Renaming the 13-million hectare underwater feature is “an exercise of sovereignty and is aimed at protecting national interest”, Tolentino said.

The bill also aims to designate local names for the 22 undersea features found in the area.

“Amid competing maritime claims in the West Philippine Sea, exacerbated by China’s aggressive posturing, the exercise of sovereign rights by the Philippine Government is paramount to protect our national interest,” Tolentino explained.

Under the measure, government agencies will be mandated to use the name “Philippine Rise” or “Talampas ng Pilipinas” by government agencies and in official maps, charts, and all other official documents.

All private institutions, organizations, and establishments organized under the laws of the Philippines or operating within the Philippines will also be directed to use the name in all communications, announcements, and messages, both domestically and internationally.