SC Justice: Assign NAMRIA to name Benham Rise features

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 22) — If the Philippines’ central mapping agency names Benham Rise features, China’s names will have no bearing, Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said Thursday.

Carpio suggested designating the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (NAMRIA) to approve proposed names for features in the country’s extended continental shelf, of which it has sovereign rights.

He explained the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) and Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO recognize the Philippines’ sovereign rights over the area. The two international bodies reportedly approved China’s names for four undersea mountains and a hill in Benham Rise.

Related: China names five undersea features in Benham Rise

“It says [in the IHO and IOC guidelines]… if the national authority, the Philippines, has designated an agency to approve proposed names on the EEZ and extended continental shelf, that authority… prevails over the [IHO] and [IOC],” Carpio told CNN Philippines’ The Source.

“The President should by executive order should designate NAMRIA… Then the Chinese will have to submit names to NAMRIA,” he added.

Carpio said IHO and IOC approved the names because the Philippines did not assign an agency that could name its resources.

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