MANILA - The Philippine Coast Guard on Wednesday reiterated the need to put up a port near Benham Rise, an undersea plateau off the Philippines' Pacific coast, following the recent incursion there of Chinese research vessels.
This, after Senator Sonny Angara in a legislative hearing pointed out that Philippine ships would take a day to reach Benham Rise from the eastern seaboard off Cagayan province in case.
"Parang medyo mahina ang deterrent capacity natin kung isang araw pa tayo [bago makarating] kung manggagaling ng Aparri," he observed.
(It seems that our deterrent capacity is a bit weak if it takes us a day to reach Benham if we sail from Aparri town in Cagayan.)
PCG officer-in-charge Commodore Joel Garcia said he has asked the transportation department to put up ports and harbors in the eastern seaboard.
"Probably because of the narrative in Benham Rise, there is an urgent need to put up one," he added.
Garcia also admitted that PCG assets are currently capable of monitoring the movement of a marine vessel, but not its physical activity.
He said this is why the PCG is not certain whether China's recent research only looked into non-natural resource data like water salinity and temperature or if it had gauged the untapped riches of the Philippine continental shelf.
Any research into natural resources, Garcia noted, should have been authorized by Manila.