Manila to rename undersea features in Philippine Rise
The Philippines will disregard China's naming some underwater features in the Philippine Rise and instead will give their Filipino names, Malacanang said on Thursday.
In a press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Duterte administration did not see any "bad faith" from Beijing's names to the undersea features.
"There's none, because what happened there is we are not member of that body," he said when asked if the Philippines did not see any bad faith from China's action.
Roque was referring to the Sub-Committee on Undersea Feature Names, which is part of the International Hydrographic Organization -Intergovernmental Ocenaographic Commission General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans (IHO-IOC GEBCO) and approved Chinese move to name the undersea features.
He said the naming of the five undersea features in the Philippine Rise, formerly Benham Rise and which Manila has sovereign rights, was not a political process, but "this is a scientific process" where the one who made the discovery could give names to the area.
"Given that, the president said we don't care what ever it is, for as as long that this has been awarded to the Philippines. Whatever China says, we will also give name there," Roque said.
He explained this would be similar to Benham Rise, a name given by the Americans and which the Duterte administration named as the Philippine Rise last year through an executive order.
"So if we are going to disregard the name that China gave, we're just being consistent because we disregarded the name that the Americans gave to Benham Rise, we call it Philippine Rise," Roque said.
He said China's act would not affect the two countries' relation.
"But it's very clear that Benham Rise is under our sovereign rights. We do not see any basis for China to be alarmed with our position that we will insist on naming rights," he said.
Asked if the Philippines should not be alarmed with what Beijing has been doing over Philippine Rise, Roque said, "not also. It's because China recognizes that they do not have any right over Benham Rise and they recognize our sovereign rights over Benham Rise." Celerina Monte/DMS