The Philippines formally asserted its ownership over the Philippine Rise as President Duterte signed a Presidential Proclamation formally declaring portions of the underwater plateau as marine protected areas (MPAs).
Duterte led the send-off ceremony while on board the BRP Davao Del Sur for the all-Filipino scientists who will be conducting a six-month Maritime Science Research (MSR) at the Philippine Rise. He said the government will fully support them in their mission to conduct mapping, surveys, biological investigations and assessment of the coral reef and fisheries stock in the area until November.
An MPA declaration over Philippine Rise reduces human interaction with resources, thereby allowing the resources to replenish. MPAs also help reduce some anthropogenic-related problems and may enhance the resiliency of marine stressors. Formerly known as Benham Rise, the submarine geological structure was renamed to Philippine Rise through the issuance of Executive Order (EO) no. 25 on May 16, 2017