The Philippines Rise has the potential to be a “powerhouse” exporter of energy requirements that can rival even the world’s top oil-producing countries.
This was the forecast of Senator Sherwin Gatchalian in his sponsorship speech during the hearing of Senate Bill No. 2024 or the Philippine Rise Development Authority Act.
“Lubos ang aking paniniwala na ang Philippine Rise ay magbibigay ng kasaganaan at maunlad na kabuhayan para sa susunod na henerasyon ng mga Pilipino — ito ay makakamit lamang kung mapangangalagaan ang ating likas-yaman,” he said. (“I firmly believe that the Philippine Rise will bring prosperity to the lives of the next generation of Filipinos — which we can only achieve if we take care of our natural resources.”)
“This measure takes a responsible, proactive, and forward-looking approach to developing the natural resources of the Philippine Rise by establishing the institutional mechanism needed to facilitate a coordinated and integrated approach to optimizing the full potential of the Philippine Rise,” the senator added.
The bill aims to create a Philippine Rise Development Authority (PRDA) that will act as a coordinator, policymaker, and regulatory body concerning the Philippine Rise.
The PRDA will handle proposals, plans, programs, projects, or activities concerning the Philippine Rise region. Marine science research, exploration, and exploitation can only be done once there is a go signal from the agency, as stated under the PRDA Act.
Gatchalian also emphasized the huge potential of the sources of methane gas hydrates in the Philippine Rise, calling the methane gas hydrates as “highly touted for their potential as the so-called ‘fuel of tomorrow’.”
The Philippine Rise, previously known as Benham Rise, is located off the cost of Aurora province and has a 24.4-million hectare underwater plateau.
In 2012, the United Nations Commission of the Limits of the Continental Shelf confirmed Philippines’ claim on the remaining 13 million hectares of the underwater plateau, which makes the entire Philippine Rise part of the country’s sovereignty.
Photo Courtesy of wingatchalian.com