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I Support the Protection of Philippine Rise
WHY PROTECT THE PHILIPPINE RISE? 1. The Philippine Rise is Philippine territory. A large part of the region is within the country's 200 nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone and continental shelf. In April 2012, the Extended Continental Shelf claim of the Philippines was approved by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). According to the 1987 Constitution, all areas for which the Philippines has sovereignty or jurisdiction are considered legally part of the National Territory. As the Philippine Rise fits this definition – the region is definitely considered as Philippine territory. 2. It nearly doubles the size of the Philippines. The area of Benham Rise within the Exclusive Economic Zone and continental shelf of the Philippines is 11.4 million hectares while the Extended Continental Shelf is 13 million hectares. The region spans over 24 million hectares, compared with the 30 million hectare total land area of the Philippines – meaning our territory grew significantly. 3. Benham Bank, the shallowest portion of the Philippine Rise, is a spawning area. Preliminary research conducted by scientists as early as 2013 revealed that Benham Bank is a spawning ground for assorted fish. 4. The Philippine Rise is possibly the only place in the Philippines where coral cover hovers around 100% and is a likely source of larval spawn for corals and reef fish. What must be done: 1. As an immediate response, the Philippine government should issue an order declaring Benham Bank, the shallowest portion of the Philippine Rise, as a no-take zone, meaning no fishing, mining or drilling activities can take place on or around it, ensuring protection. 2. Oceana recommends the formulation of a Management Plan for the Philippine Rise for the protection and sustainable use of the Philippine Rise. This regulatory framework is crucial before any human activity with a negative impact on its ecological integrity can be considered in the area. 3. More research should be done on Benham Bank and the Philippine Rise, particularly on biodiversity and interconnectivity with shallow-water reefs. A thorough study of resources should be conducted ensuring decisions are made based on science. By signing this petition, you are declaring your support for the protection of the Philippine Rise. Please share this on your social media accounts with the hashtag #ProtectPHRise to spread the word and encourage others! Now is the time to protect and stand up for what is ours!