The government plans to summon researchers in Beijing-led exploration of Benham Rise due to a breach of agreement regarding such scientific missions.
It has been revealed that China’s Institute of Oceanology of Chinese Academy of Sciences (IOCAS) did not comply with the Philippines’ condition to bring along with them Filipino scientists in the maritime scientific research (MSR) approved by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) last January 19.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque, a known expert on international law, promised the government will call on Chinese and Filipino scientists behind the MSR to gather its results.
“The researchers will have to be summoned,” he said.
University of the Philippines-Marine Science Institute’s (UP-MSI) Dr. Cesar Villanoy, in a Senate hearing yesterday, said that there were no Filipinos in three out of the six-day MSR led by the Beijing-based think tank.
In a Palace media briefing, Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said that he cannot tell whether or not IOCAS has complied or not with Manila’s research requisite.
“I cannot answer that with being definite because I do not know why they were not there,” Roque said.
“It could be that they were engaged in scientific research, it could be that their presence was not required because it was not a material step, it could be preparatory,” he added.
During the Senate hearing, opposition Senator Bam Aquino said that if Filipino researchers were not ready for those three days, their Chinese counterparts should have been asked to postpone its exploration.
“We have been too nice. If our (Filipino) research team was not ready, we could have insisted to postpone it,” Aquino said.
“It’s our territory, it’s our prerogative,” he added.
Benham Rise, officially renamed by President Duterte as the Philippine Rise through an Executive Order, is a seismically active undersea region and extinct volcanic ridge located in the Philippine Sea approximately 250 250 Gov’t to summon Benham researcherskilometers east of the northern coastline of Dinapigue, Isabela.
The Philippines claimed it as part of its continental shelf in a claim lodged with the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf in April 2009. It was approved under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in 2012.
EDCA may make RP a target
The Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) that the country has with the United States may be an invitation for US rivals in the region to mark the Philippines as a ballistic missile target.
This was how retired army General Victor Corpuz sees the current situation on the silent war that the US and China are engaged in as the Chinese had been flexing its muscle over the construction of a number of artificial islands at the contested South China Sea.
At the weekly Tapatan sa Aristocrat forum, Corpuz presented two scenarios that he believes can happen in case war erupts in the region. The presence of US troops at the RP soil will be a sure priority of the Chinese military base established in the contested maritime areas.
The first scenario which he called the “win-lose” is to oppose the presence of the Chinese which will provoke a war which would mean suicidal for the nation due to its weak defense force.
A second approach in dealing with China is what he termed the “win-win” strategy wherein a status quo is maintained that would result in an economic bonanza from China which is what the Duterte administration is doing.
Corpuz defended the China interest in the disputed islands saying that it is in accordance with their country’s survival and protection.
Former Paranaque Representative Roilo Golez for his part deplore the Chinese move on occupying several sea island inside the Philippine territory which he dubbed as “Chinese invasion” by saying that despite losing in the case filed with the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) at the Hague they continue to do their unhampered buildup of structures.
Golez further said that the real intension is to put up their artilleries to have control over the sea going vessels passing through the ocean path.
A Naval expert, Golez said that the US forces has no intension of entering the sea areas controlled by the Chinese in the South China Sea and noted that after intruding and occupying some of our sea territory surprisingly we have discovered they intension of claiming another sea waters of our which is the Benham Rise.