DND eyeing naval base in Aurora to protect Benham Rise

May 14, 2017 - 9:05 AM
Benham Rise map
Map shows location of Benham Rise east of Luzon Island.

MANILA, Philippines — Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said there are plans to construct a naval base in Casiguran town, Aurora as part of the government’s efforts to secure Benham Rise.

Lorenzana said he will soon visit and inspect the site of the proposed naval base, which already has an existing airstrip, to determine what else needs to be done.

He said it is likely only piers need to be built for the ships that will be assigned there.

In March, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the military to erect structures at Benham Rise to underscore the Philippines’ ownership of the undersea feature following sightings of Chinese survey ships in the area.

Navy frigates currently patrol Benham Rise on orders of the Armed Forces’ Northern Luzon Command.

Camilo Osias Naval Operating Base in Barangay San Vicente, Sta. Ana, Cagayan is the only eastward-facing naval base on Luzon. All other naval facilities on the eastern seaboard are detachments.