Alejano bats for creation of commission calling for dev’t of Benham Rise
Magdalo Partylist Rep. Gary Alejano has filed a bill last March 16 calling for the creation of commission to promote the development of Benham Rise, a 13-million hectare under sea region off the coast of Aurora.
The politiko said his House Bill No. 5138 seeks to create the Benham Rise Development Commission (BRDC) tasked to develop the underwater plateau rich in minerals and huge natural gas deposit.
The three-person commission will be set up under the Office of the President with two panels to assist the commission in performing its mandate — a National Panel of Technical Experts and an Advisory Panel.
The first panel will be composed of multi-discipline science practitioners tasked with research and development, while the second panel composed of representatives from 10 key government departments and agencies will help in the formulation of regulations and in policy making.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana earlier said that Chinese survey ships have been entering the Benham Rise area since last year, noting that the intrusion was “very concerning” and that he has ordered the navy to start to confront and drive away these intruding vessels if seen in the area.
The Philippines’ claim to Benham Rise was approved by the United Nations in 2012.
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