Press Release
September 1, 2011

Legarda Joined PH Mission to UN on the Benham Rise Region

Senator Loren Legarda expressed support for the Philippine government's claim over the Benham Rise Region after joining the United Nations meeting in New York that discussed the country's submission for an extended continental shelf (ECS).

"I register my support to the Philippine delegation as it pursues our country's claim over the natural resources of ECS in the Benham Rise Region," Legarda said in a statement after the meeting with the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf held in the Office of UN Division of Ocean Affairs and Law of the Sea.

Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, noted that this dialogue is critical in expediting the consideration of RP's submission.

"As the continental shelf is a potential source of huge oil and gas reserves, the country is presented an opportunity to achieve energy self-sufficiency," stressed Legarda, noting DOE's estimate of an approximately 23 billion US dollars-worth of oil and gas reserves in the Reed bank and Malampaya areas alone.

In 2002, a study conducted by an inter-agency group led by NAMRIA identified two potential ECS areas for the Philippines: the Benham Rise Region and the Western Palawan region. In April 2009, the Philippines made a submission for the Benham Rise Region, while reserving the right to make submissions in other areas in the future. The ECS in the Benham Rise Region is a large seabed area encompassing 133,000 square kilometers, or nearly half the land area of the country.

The DENR asserts that the continental shelf hosts huge deposits of hard minerals including nickel, copper, cobalt, silver and rare earth metals. It also home to sedentary species that have pharmaceutical uses.

"I joined the Philippine delegation in this crucial dialogue, with the goal of sending a strong signal to the international community that the Philippines asserts its rights under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea for the benefit of the Filipino people," said Legarda.

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