'Damn us! Are we this helpless?' – Lacson on sea features named by China
Sen. Panfilo Lacson (File photo by RICHARD A. REYES / Philippine Daily Inquirer)
“Damn us! Are we this helpless?” Sen. Panfilo Lacson said in reaction to reports that China has successfully named five undersea features within the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the Philippine Rise (Benham Rise).
In a Twitter post Tuesday night, Lacson enumerated the five features reportedly named by China: Jinghao and Tianbao Seamounts, Haidonquing Seamount, Cuiqiao Hill and Jujiu Seamounts.
“It’s probably a matter of time before we see Chinese structures on more artificial islands,” the senator said.
Jay Batongbacal, director of the University of the Philippines Institute for Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea, earlier disclosed that the proposed names by China were approved last year by the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO).
Batongbacal, in a Facebook post Monday, said that three of the features were reported to have been “discovered” during a 2004 survey by the Li Shiguang Hao of the China Navy Hydrographic Office, which submitted the names for consoderation by the IHO in 2014.
Two more features, he said, were also discovered by the same vessel during the same survey. But the name proposals were submitted by the China Ocean Minerals R&D Association in 2016.
Last week, Inquirer also released aerial photos of alleged continuous militarization in seven reefs being claimed by the Philippines in the South China Sea.