The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) will send two of its ships to conduct maritime security patrol at the marine resource-rich Benham Rise beginning May 7.
PCG/File
PCG set to start Benham patrol
Evelyn Macairan (The Philippine Star) - May 5, 2017 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines -  The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) will send two of its ships to conduct maritime security patrol at the marine resource-rich Benham Rise beginning May 7.

It would deploy its multi-role response vessel BRP Malapascua and the monitoring, control and surveillance vessel MCS 3001 that the Coast Guard jointly operates with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).

The PCG and BFAR personnel are to meet today at Infanta, Quezon and proceed to Benham Rise, also called the Benham Plateau, on Sunday.

PCG spokesman Commander Armand Balilo said, “We would accompany the BFAR in its fish examination. But our Coast Guard officer-in-charge Commodore Joel Garcia also gave a directive to our personnel manning BRP Malapascua and MCS 3001 to also conduct patrol for maritime security operations in the area.”

The BRP Malapascua is skippered by Commander Gary Dale Gimotea while the MCS 3001 is headed by Captain Luisito Sibayan.

There is no information yet on how long the PCG would conduct maritime patrols in Benham Rise, which is located off the coast of Aurora province. The Rise is a 13 million-hectare submerged continental shelf that was declared by the UN in 2012 as part of Philippine territory.

President Duterte earlier said he is considering renaming it the Philippine Ridge.

Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio had said that the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf has confirmed that Benham Rise is part of the Extended Continental Shelf (ECS) of the Philippines.?Under Article 77 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), Carpio said the Philippines has sole right to explore for and exploit oil, gas and other mineral resources in the area.

PHILIPPINE COAST GUARD
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