Philippine Lawmakers Criticize Chinese Encroachment in Benham Rise

Philippine lawmakers in its House of Representatives spoke out about what is referred to as “Chinese intrusion” into waters east of Luzon, called the Benham Rise, on March 3rd.

The lawmakers’ comments also made calls for the government to “enforce” the Philippines’ rights within the region and narrow its focus on the matter at hand. Albay 2nd District Representative Joey Salceda and House Deputy Minority and ACT Teachers Representative France Castro submitted their statements after reports of two Chinese research vessels were detected “loitering” within the area on March 1st.

“The West Philippine Sea [South China Sea] might be a condominium among our neighbors. But China has absolutely no place in the Benham Rise. That’s exclusively ours. They’re intruders-pure and simple,” said Salceda.

Castro added that this incident is a threat to the country’s national sovereignty and maritime rights, calling on the government to take further action. She also added: “Benham Rise, now officially designated as a “protected food supply exclusive economic zone,” is a resource-rich area that holds significant importance for our country.”