Senate pushes creation of Benham Rise Dev’t Authority

MANILA, Philippines — Aside from its rich marine resources, Benham Rise is seen to provide the Philippines with rich deposits of natural gas.

Thus, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian has once again urged his colleagues to act on the proposed creation of the Benham Rise Development Authority (BRDA).

Senate Committee on Economic Affairs Chairman Sherwin Gatchalian said, “The truth of the matter is, at this point, the data needed to make definitive conclusions about the development potentials of the region, simply does not exist, yet. This glaring weakness is the most immediate issue that must be addressed by any legislation which seeks to develop the Benham Rise.”

Senate Bill no. 312 or the Benham Rise Development Authority Act seeks the creation of BRDA, authored by Senator Sonny Angara.

The proposed government body, together with the National Economic Development Authority or NEDA, will lead the research and exploration of Benham Rise.

University of the Philippines Professor Gabriel Pamintuan Jr. says the government has to explore the mineral deposits in Benham Rise.

WATCH: Government urged to take immediate action to protect Benham Rise

Pamintuan believes the said area contains natural gas.

“The gas is trapped in ice. How do you know that there’s gas in that ice? Drill it out. It’s like a snow or ice that when you lit will explode,”said Prof. Pamintuan of UP Mining, Metallurgical Engineering Department.

Meanwhile, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon said they have not monitored any threat of reclamation from any country as far as Benham Rise is concern.

Esperon added that anyone is free to navigate or fish in the area as long as they have the permission from the Philippine government.

“We don’t see [any threat]. There could be; but we don’t see any right now. We are also aware of the pronouncements of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China saying that they recognize our sovereign rights over the Benham Rise,” NSA Esperon said. — Aga Caacbay | UNTV News & Rescue

WATCH: No conflict of interest in the statements of Pres. Duterte, DND, DFA regarding Benham Rise – Malacañang 

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