‘Portion’ of Philippine Rise to be declared marine protected reserve, says DENR exec
SAN PEDRO CITY – President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday is expected to sign a proclamation designating certain portions of the Philippine Rise as a marine protected area.
The “ceremonial signing” is expected to take place during the president’s trip to send off the country’s first all-Filipino scientific expedition to the underwater plateau.
Department of Environment and Natural Resources Undersecretary for Climate Change Service and Mining Concerns Analiza Teh, said some 50,000 hectares of the Philippine Rise would be designated as a “strict protection zone” meaning it will be closed to human activities except for scientific research.
Another 300,000 hectares will be designated “fisheries management area” to prevent illegal and over-fishing.
“One of the justifications (for the declaration) is napakaganda ng biodiversity feature ng area, almost 100-percent coral cover, morphologically and biologically significant,” Teh said in a phone interview from Aurora Pacific Ecozone.
The President’s visit comes amid reported claims by China of the marine resource-rich underwater region.
In 2012, the United Nations awarded to the Philippines sovereign right over the Philippine Rise, formerly called Benham Rise.
Teh said the proclamation was not about asserting the country’s territorial claim “but rather promote conservation.”
“Philippine Rise is part of our territory. We encourage other claimants, neighboring countries to join us in marine protection,” she added.
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