MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte ordered a stop to all research done by foreigners on Benham Rise and directed the Navy to "chase out" any vessel doing such, Agriculture Sec. Manny Piñol said Tuesday.
Quoting the President during a Cabinet meeting on Monday, Piñol said: "Let me be very clear about this: the Philippine Rise is ours and any insinuation that it is open to everybody should end with this declaration."
Piñol in May last year led an expedition on Benham Rise, an underwater plateau located off the country's Pacific Coast.
"He directed the Philippine Navy to 'chase out' any vessel fishing or conducting researches in the 13-million hectare continental shelf," Piñol said Tuesday.
The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources' also deployed 2 multi-mission off-shore vessels - BRP Lapulapu and BRP Francisco Dagohoy - to monitor the area.
China has "qualified" to do research in the area, Malacanang said last month.