MANILA- President Rodrigo Duterte said Tuesday that the Philippine Rise and the Malampaya gas field belong to the Philippines.
Duterte made the statement as he thanked the Philippine Air Force during its 72nd anniversary.
“I acknowledge your unwavering commitment to your sworn duty to protect our territorial lines of defense through aerial reconnaissance and maritime patrol missions in the West Philippine Sea and of course which is really ours --- the Philippine Rise,” he said in a speech.
“Also noteworthy are your efforts in securing [the] Malampaya natural gas (field) off the coast of Palawan, which is ours,” he added.
Also known as Benham Rise, the Philippine Rise was awarded by the United Nations to Manila in 2012 as an extension of its continental shelf.
With the ruling, the country was granted “sovereign rights” over the area, which means the Philippines has the exclusive rights to explore and exploit resources there.
Malampaya, meanwhile, is a gas field off Palawan currently providing some 40 percent of Luzon's energy needs.
Duterte in recent weeks courted controversy for his statements allowing the Chinese to fish in the West Philippine Sea, saying Filipinos cannot prevent them from doing so because Beijing claims nearly all of the disputed waters.