PH mulls structure on mineral-rich Benham Rise
BAGUIO CITY—The Philippines would keep on patrolling the Benham Rise and possibly put up a structure there to signify Philippine ownership.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana made this statement even as he said he would accept for now China’s explanation that a survey ship’s passage through the country’s territorial seas was unintentional.
The Benham Rise, also known as Benham Plateau, is potentially rich in mineral and natural gas deposits.
Malacañang had expressed concern over the development and said the Philippines would assert its sovereignty over its territory.
Lorenzana noted that the movement of the Chinese survey ship was not consistent with a simple passage as it did not just steam straight ahead and keep a constant speed.
But the Chinese vessel had moved slowly and stopped in the area for three days, he said.
“That’s not innocent passage but we will accept for now their explanation,” he told reporters.