May 15, 2018
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte led the ceremonial send-off for the all-Filipino Marine Scientific Research expedition team to the Philippine Rise aboard the BRP Davao del Sur in Casiguran Sound, Aurora.
In his speech, President Duterte underscored the importance of safeguarding the country’s natural resources, adding that it is the Filipino people’s responsibility to “properly manage and conserve its natural resources for the benefit of the present and future generations.”
During the course of the program, he also signed a Presidential Proclamation that declared the Philippine Rise and the East Kalayaan as Marine Resource Reserve.
According to the President, a Strict Protection Zone shall be implemented in the 50,000 hectare portion of the Philippine Rise that will limit the area only to scientific studies. Likewise, more than 30,000 hectares shall be established as Special Fisheries Management Area.
He also encouraged further research and studies by Filipino scientists through government’s provisions of the necessary tools and equipment needed in their exploration.
“The Navy is at your disposal, you can use the resources of the Republic of the Philippines,” he said.
The all-Filipino scientists will perform a Coordinated National Marine Scientific Research Initiatives and Related Activities (CONMIRA) that will allow the conduction of mapping, surveying, and biological investigations and assessment of marine resources in the Philippine Rise area until November this year.
The send-off ceremony was in line with the commemoration of the first anniversary of the signing of Executive Order (EO) No. 25 by President Duterte. The order, which was signed on May 16, 2017, renamed the underwater feature from Benham Rise to Philippine Rise to affirm the state’s sovereign rights and jurisdiction to the resources-rich continental shelf.
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