"China's proposals to rename some undersea features in the Philippines were submitted to SCUFN during its meetings in Brazil on October 12 to 16, 2015 and September 19 to 23, 2017", Roque said.
Batongbacal is director of the University of the Philippines Institute for Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea.
WHEN the Philippine Government protested the approval by the Sub-Committee on Undersea Feature Names (SCUFN) of the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) and its partner, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO, of the Chinese names proposed for five undersea features of Philippine Rise (Benham Rise). the naming process has been rolling for 14 years.
"For them, it's actually a policy".
"As for me I would also give these features Philippine names", he said in a text message sent to reporters.
The Philippines has already complained about China's move, amid concerns Beijing may be claiming more maritime territory.
The Philippines has insisted that foreign ships were allowed into the area, and that there had been as many as 30 foreign licenses granted to survey the area, including from the United States and China. Kasi nga lalabas nun, politically controversial pala 'yung naming.
Batongbacal said that three names were submitted for consideration by the IHO in 2014 while the China Ocean Minerals R and D Association submitted two in 2016. "Tapos, from this time on, dapat binabantayan natin lagi 'yan", he said. These are the Jinghao and Tianbao Seamounts located 70 nautical miles east of Cagayan province, the Haidonquing Seamount further east, and the Jujiu Seamount and Cuiqiao Hill in the northern part of the Luzon plateau.
All of these, he said, are within the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the Philippine Rise. They said China and Southeast Asian nations would begin negotiations early next month on a "code of conduct" aimed at reducing the risks of armed confrontations in the contested territories.
"The government must be resolute in asserting our rights and protecting our territory instead of downplaying threats of Chinese encroachment", Alejano said.
Alejano also warned of the implications of China's move.
"Yes, of course. Remember that the Spratly features have Chinese, Vietnamese and Filipino names", he added. "The adverse implications of which are the erosion and ultimately, the concession of the Philippines' sovereign rights over the region", he said.
Batongbacal said the government could have named all undersea features in Benham Rise as early as 2008, when the Philippines filed its claim for Benham Rise.
Benham Rise, named after USA geologist Andrew Benham who first discovered it in 1933, spans 13 million hectares and is believed to be rich in marine resources, natural gas, oil, and minerals.