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PH to build permanent structures on Benham Rise

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The permanent structures that the Philippines wants to put up on Benham Rise to assert its ownership over the area may rise in two years, according to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.

 

Lorenzana said plans were being drawn up to put up a platform on Benham Rise, which has since been renamed the Philippine Rise,  which could be used as a landing pad or a place for marine biologists who want to studythe area. No funds have been allocated for this yet.

The Philippine flag has already been planted in the area, an undersea landmass in the Pacific Ocean potentially rich in mineral and natural gas deposits.

“By my estimate, if we have the funds and we get the correct technology, maybe in two years’ time [we can put up the structure]. In two years’ time, we’ll be able to start and maybe another one year to establish it there,” Lorenzana told a press briefing in Malacañang.

He said the plan was to put up the structure on the shallowest part of Benham Rise.

But the harsh weather conditions in the area as well as the waves that could rise as high as 10 meters make this difficult.

“Anyway, we will ask the experts on these kinds of things to advise us,” he said.

In the meantime that there is no permanent structure there, he said the Philippines would establish its naval presence in nearby areas, such as Casiguran, Polilio Island and Cagayan.

“So we’ll have three jump-off points for our patrols in Benham Rise,” he said.

The goal, he said, is to “protect what belongs to us.”

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