MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte will visit the Philippine Rise (Benham Rise) on May 15-16, Malacañang said Tuesday.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte will visit the area to commemorate its renaming from Benham Rise to Philippine Rise.
During his visit, the President will also send off some 50 Filipino researchers who will study the resource-rich underwater plateau, Roque said.
The President earlier said he would visit Philippine Rise to make a statement that the Philippines “owns this place.”
The United Nations had in 2012 awarded Benham Rise to the Philippines as an extension of its continental shelf. With the ruling, the country was granted “sovereign rights” over Benham Rise, which means the Philippines has the exclusive rights to explore and exploit resources there.
The President earlier issued an order that foreign researchers who wish to conduct studies on Benham Rise would need the permission of the National Security Adviser.
This came following heavy criticism against the government for allowing China to explore the area despite its dispute with the Philippines over the South China Sea, resource-rich waters on the archipelago's west coast.