PASAY CITY, May 16, 2018 — The Foreign Service Institute – Center for International Relations and Strategic Studies (FSI-CIRSS), in collaboration with Oceana Philippines, launched yesterday a week-long photography exhibit on the Philippine Rise region in celebration of the Month of the Ocean and the International Year of the Reef.
The photo exhibit, held in the lobby of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Main Building in Pasay City, aims to strengthen awareness of the ecological importance of the Philippine Rise.
The Philippine Rise, formerly Benham Rise, is an undersea region east of Luzon which is estimated to be almost as big as the land area of the Philippines. Its shallowest part, the Benham Bank, has 100 percent coral cover in some places, which cannot be found anywhere else.
President Rodrigo Duterte signed Executive Order No. 25 in May 2017, which renamed Benham Rise to Philippine Rise.
Also yesterday, the President signed a presidential proclamation declaring a part of the Philippine Rise as a marine protected area.
The Month of the Ocean is celebrated annually in the Philippines during the month of May by virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 57 issued in 1999. Activities to be conducted in observance of this event aims to highlight the importance of conservation, protection, and sustainable management of Philippine coastal and marine resources.
On the other hand, the International Coral Reef Initiative, wherein the Philippines is one of the eight founding countries, declared 2018 as the third International Year of the Reef in response to the increasing threats to coral reefs and associated ecosystems.