LP: ‘PH’s right to name Benham Rise features same as right of parents to name children’

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Liberal Party vice president on external affairs Erin Tañada on Thursday compared the Philippines’ right to name undersea features of Benham Rise, or Philippine Rise, to the right of parents to name their children.

“We have the right to name our children because we have duties toward them, including protecting them,” said Tañada, a former Quezon representative.

“That’s why, similarly, we can’t simply be dismissive about China’s naming of five seamounts within the Philippine Rise. Philippine Rise is within our territory and we should be the one to label it and parts of it,” he said in a statement.

If names are not so important, Tañada said, “then why did President Duterte bother to issue Executive Order No. 25 to rename Benham Rise to Philippine Rise?”

“Giving it a label carrying the name of the country emphasizes Philippine sovereign right and jurisdiction over the area. That’s how important a name is,” he said.

Tañada said the five names submitted by Beijing in 2014 and 2016 have been approved by the International Hydrographic Organization, “which means that they are now internationally recognized.”

“China is not exactly the most trustworthy neighbor. Downplaying this move of naming seamounts could just surprise us one day that they have built structures on them, like what they did to other territories under dispute in the West Philippine Sea,” he said.