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1. What is Benham Rise?

Benham Plateau also known as the Benham Rise (with coordinates 1193OE to
132OOE and 121ON to 2O3ON latitude),is a 13 million hectare under sea region east of
Luzon and is 35 meters underwater at its shallowest point off the provinces of Aurora
and Isabela. It is delimited by the West Philippine Basin to the north and east. It is a seismically
active undersea region and extinct volcanic ridge east of the Philippines, in the Philippine Sea
which lies a number of Basins including the West Philippine Basin (WPB) of which inside the
Basin is located the Central Basin Fault (CBF). The Benham Plateau region is located in the CBF
and its basement represents a micro-continent.

Named after the American geologist Andrew Benham who discovered the continental
shelf, the area was mapped in 1933 but its connection to the Philippine shelf was validated only
recently to justify the countys economic claim. Despite its proximity to the archipelago, the
plateau was previously not included in the territory of the Philippine Islands. On 8 April 2009, the
Republic of the Philippines lodged a full territorial waters claim with the United Nations
Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf in relation to the continental shelf in the
region of Benham Rise. It was submitted as part of petition expanding the archipelago's baselines
and exclusive economic zone through a law that also included other claims involving disputed
territories of the Kalayaan Islands (Spratly Islands) and Scarborough Shoal. Although the off
shore landform, in itself, is not disputed, the petition still received some criticism inside and
outside the country because of its controversial nature. According to the government's claim,
based on a set of guidelines by the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, the area
satisfies the 350-mile constraint line since the outer limits of the continental shelf are located
landward of the constraint line, which is located 350 miles from the baselines where the
measurement of the breadth of the territorial sea begins. Benham Rise was never a subject to any
maritime boundary disputes and claims. The Congress of the Philippines enacted Republic Act
No. 9522, also known as the Archipelagic Baselines Law, which is the basis of the claim.
According to the document, the region is bounded by the Philippine Basin on the north and east,
and by Luzon on the west and south. It asserted that, according to scientific data based on
seismic, magnetic, other geological features, the Benham Rise region is an extension of the
Philippines continental shelf.

In summary, the baselines, the basis used for delineating the maritime territorial and
jurisdictional zones, conform with the requirements of the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea
(UNCLOS). Indirectly, the claim is only a partial claim since the law that allows the Philippines
to expand its territorial boundaries also includes other disputed islands in the West Philippine Sea.
The Philippines may soon be able to provide its own energy needs if it can extract abundant
mineral, oil and natural gas of Benham Rise, which is believed to have mineral and gas deposits.
The Philippines claim over Benham Rise is "very relevant" because scientific surveys indicate
minerals and natural gas in the area. Solidified methane was found during mapping activities and
the "probability is extremely very high" there are massive oil deposits. Benham Rise, which is
wider than the entire Luzon, Samar, and Leyte combined, is now officially part of the Philippines
because it is the only country within 200 nautical miles of the plateau.

2. What is the position of the Philippines as fr as Benham Rise is concern?


Despite Benham Rises proximity to the Philippine archipelago and despite the
Philippines being the only country within 200 nautical miles of the plateau, it was not included in
the Philippine islands territory before. As such, in April 2009, the Philippines lodged a full
territorial waters claim with the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental
Shelf.

The Philippine governments claim was based on the guidelines set by the Commission
on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, the area satisfies the 350-mile constraint line. Moreover,
the basis of the claim was also according to Republic Act No. 9522 (Archipelagic Baselines
Law), which says that the region is bounded by the Philippine Basis on the north and east, and by
Luzon on the west and south. Also, based on scientific data on seismic, magnetic and other
geological features of Benham Rise, it indicates that the region is an extension of the countrys
continental shelf.

3. If you are the president, what is your claim in Benham Rise?

Considering the facts of scientific data on seismic, magnetic and other


geological features of Benham Rise and the guidelines set by the Commission on the
Limits of the Continental Shelf, if I am the President, i will stand over the claims that
Benham Rise is part and parcel of the Philippine teritory.