Palace objects Chinese names given to some PH Rise undersea features

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Benham Rise lies on the other side of the Philippine archipelago from the South China Sea, where Manila, Beijing and four other governments have been locked in territorial disputes.

Batongbacal noted that the survey by a Chinese team was made in 2004 and the proposal to name the five undersea features presented to SCUFN in 2014.

The Philippine embassy in Beijing raised concerns with the Chinese government and was considering notifying worldwide hydrographic and oceanographic agencies that deal with the mapping and naming of underwater features to complain about this, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said.

Beijing proposed the names for the features in 2015 and 2017, he said.

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China proposed the names for the features in 2015 and 2017, he said.

"But he is a complete coward and puppet vis a vis China by selling out cheap the sovereign rights of the Philippines and the Filipino people over the rich mineral and marine resources of the West Philippine Sea, Panatag Shoal and Benham Rise", he added. "That's why, similarly, we can't simply be dismissive about China's naming of five seamounts within the Philippine Rise", said former Quezon representative Lorenzo "Erin" Tañada III, the Liberal Party (LP)'s vice president for external affairs. "The audacity of China, to the extent of naming features found within our very own territory, is reinforced by the passivity of the Duterte administration", he said in a statement.

The Philippine government last week declared a freeze on all foreign explorations in Benham Rise, after several nationalist groups had protested when a Chinese research vessel was granted access to the vast but largely unexplored sea region. These are the Jinghao and Tianbao Seamounts located 70 nautical miles east of Cagayan province, the Haidonquing Seamount further east, and the Jujiu Seamount and Cuiqiao Hill in the northern part of the Luzon plateau.

These conditions have prompted the Philippines to ask other nations, including China, to help it map and survey the area.

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"We have the right to name our children because we have duties toward them, including protecting them". According to the Philippine Navy, it was, again, an act of innocent passage.

On February 14, the Philippines rejected the Chinese names approved by the International Hydrographic Organization-Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans.

Philippine diplomats had raised their concern with the Chinese authorities, he said.

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Ejercito, a member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, said the DFA should exhaust all diplomatic and legal means to protect the country's sovereignty and territory.

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