A committee in Congress has approved a bill seeking to declare a portion of the Philippine Rise as a protected area on July 7.
The proposed measure is a substitute bill to House Bill No. 36 or the “Philippine Rise Marine Resource Reserve Act” that establishes the “Philippine Rise Natural Park.”
The bill seeks to declare some 350,000 hectares out of the 13-million-hectare Philippine Rise, popularly known as Benham Rise, as a protected site under the National Integrated Protected Areas System or NIPAS.
The country’s claim to Benham Rise, which is located east of Luzon Island, was approved by the United Nations in 2012.
“It shall be the policy of the State to ensure the protection and conservation of the globally significant economic, biological, sociocultural, educational, and scientific values of the Philippine Rise and the Benham Bank into perpetuity for the enjoyment of present and future generations,” the bill read.
“In the pursuit of this policy, it shall protect portions of the Philippine Rise region, namely the Benham Bank and its surrounding waters, through sustainable and participatory management, taking into consideration all applicable laws and international conventions to which the Philippines is a signatory,” it added.