‘Di na makahintay! Atienza asks Duterte to certify Benham Rise dev’t body bill

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Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza has appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte to certify the bill that would create a body to safeguard resources in the Benham Rise.

“We are asking the Palace to endorse our bill as urgent. It has become absolutely imperative for us to designate a single highly focused entity to safeguard and manage the resources found in the waters, seabed and subsoil of Benham that rightfully belong to the Philippines,” the politiko said in a statement Sunday.

The entity to be called Philippine Rise Protection and Development Authority (PRPDA) is tasked “to guarantee that all natural resources within the 13 million-hectare undersea region are preserved for the exclusive enjoyment of future generations of Filipinos.”

“This is the only way we can ensure that all living as well as non-living assets in the region that form part of our national wealth are adequately protected and harnessed for the benefit of our children and their children,” added Atienza as he pushed for House Bill 5360.

Under his bill, the senior deputy minority leader assigns the socioeconomic planning secretary, who is also National Economic and Development Authority chief, to chair the PRPDA’s governing board.

The chair would recommend for appointment by the President the person that would serve as full-time chief executive officer or administrator of the PRPDA.

The PRPDA’s governing board would include the heads of the departments of environment and natural resources, energy, agriculture, science and technology, finance, tourism, public works and highways, and defense, plus three private sector representatives.