Statement of Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan on Benham Rise

The Benham Rise is uncontested territory. Atin ito, at walang ibang umaangkin nito. Hindi inaagaw o inaarmasan ng China o ng kahit anong bansa ang Benham Rise. Teritoryo natin ito.

On the other side of the Philippines, in our exclusive economic zone, in the territory where China has deployed anti-air and anti-ship missiles is where foreign militarization on Philippine land and waters is happening.

Chinese missiles in Zamora Reef are about 13 nautical miles (about 24.05 kilometers or closer than the distance between Camp Aguinaldo and National Bilibid Prisons) away from Pag-asa Island, the largest Philippine-controlled island out of the nine features in Spratlys;

in Kagitingan Reef, about 103 nautical miles (about 190.55 kilometers or the distance between Malacanang and Manaoag Church);

and in Panganiban Reef, about 117 nautical miles (about 216.45 kilometers or almost double the distance of the Bataan Death March).

On the western side of the country, our sovereignty is clearly violated, our security is threatened, and leadership is badly needed.

It is in the West Philippine Sea, not in Benham Rise, where action is necessary and critical.