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Duterte issues proclamation on Philippine Rise

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A map of the Benham Bank is seen at the port of Casiguran, Aurora province on Tuesday, May 15, 2018. President Rodrigo Duterte to send off scientist to Philippine Rise. — PHILSTAR/KJ ROSALES

PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte has formally declared the Philippine Rise within the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) as the Philippine Rise Marine Resource Reserve (PRMRR).

Proclamation 489, released on Friday and signed by the President on May 15 in Casiguran, Aurora, as he sent off Filipino marine researchers to the Philippine Rise, declared 352,390 hectares (ha) as the PRMRR which will be under the oversight of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

Of these boundaries, 49,684 has. are proclaimed strict protection zone while the rest are under a special fisheries management area as defined under the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998, as amended.

Meanwhile, the Philippines sees no need to be more assertive in the Philippine Rise as Mr. Duterte’s visit is “enough” to claim the area, Presidential Spokesperson Harry L. Roque Jr. said.

“[Sa] akin po sapat na iyon para i-assert iyong ating karapatan sa Philippine Rise at symbolic nga po ‘no na sinasabi na ang Philippine Rise ay para sa mga Pilipino lamang,” Mr. Roque said in radio interview on Friday.

(For me, that is enough to assert our rights over the Philippine Rise and it is already symbolic to say that the Philippine Rise is for the Filipinos only.)

Mr. Roque added the President has no plans to return to the Philippine Rise as he had been there already (“Nanggaling na po doon sa area ang Presidente”). — Minde Nyl R. Dela Cruz