MANILA – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is preparing to explore the Philippine Rise — the government’s official name for Benham Rise — for mineral and gas deposits.
The Mines and Geosciences Bureau and the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (NAMRIA) have been ordered to conduct a geological survey by Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, who said the country needed to look for new energy sources.
No schedule has been set, but said the survey could be held next summer when the seas are calm.
The MGB and NAMRIA have also been instructed to coordinate with the energy, science and agriculture departments, particularly since President Rodrigo Duterte has declared the Philippine Rise as a protected food supply exclusive zone.
Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol earlier led a team from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and the media to the area, taking off from Infanta, Quezon where he engaged farming and fishing communities.
DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu said they had “alerted NAMRIA to go there and have some surveys on mineral deposits down below. I hope we can do this so we can improve the use of fuels’ probably if we can find something there it will be beneficial to the country.”
He said he directed the MGB to continue the effort, and expressed hopes he could visit the area soon.
“We don’t know yet kung ano laman noon [We don’t know yet what it holds], it’s a big surprise for us,” added Cimatu.