MANILA -- Senator Paolo Benigno Bam Aquino IV on Tuesday welcomed President Rodrigo Duterte's order to stop foreigners from conducting scientific exploration in the Philippine Rise (Benham Rise). This is while maintaining that the government should come up with a sound plan for exploring the 13-million-hectare resource-rich underwater plateau.
"The President's pronouncement is a welcome development. Now we must determine our policy and plans for Benham Rise," Aquino said.
The chair of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology, who had been insistent that only Filipinos should explore the Philippine Rise, added he was hoping that the President will strictly and consistently enforce his order.
Aquino made the statement following MalacaAang's earlier announcement that Duterte had ordered that henceforth, only Filipinos will be allowed to conduct scientific research, lay submarine cables and explore and exploit for national resources in the Philippine Rise.
The President gave the order during Monday night's Cabinet meeting.
However, despite Duterte's pronouncements, Aquino said he still planned to conduct a committee hearing on the matter to get the input and updates from Filipino scientists about their ongoing research and exploration on the Philippine Rise.
The lawmaker noted that, based on earlier reports, several Filipino scientists had already conducted maritime research in the area.
"In a Senate hearing, our scientists and experts will have the opportunity to present their current findings and plans, as well as the necessary equipment and resources needed to further study and develop the Philippine Rise," he said.
"Let's support our local scientists in their exploration missions and provide them with the resources they need," Aquino said. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency