Malacañang on Friday downplayed China's naming of five underwater features in the Benham Rise, comparing them to food that have Chinese names but are widely enjoyed by Filipinos.
"Wag natin palakihin yung issue na nagbigay ng pangalan yung Tsina dun sa mga underwater features na yan," presidential spokesman Harry Roque said.
"Marami naman talagang pangalan na binigay ang tsina no. Siopao, siomai, ampao, pechay, hototay. Pero lahat naman po yan, eh hindi ibig sabihin na sila'y nang-aangkin," he added.
According to Cedric Castillo's report on "24 Oras", Roque expressed the government's confidence that China would not impose its self in the waters east of Luzon.
"Ang Tsina kinikilala na sa Philippine Rise may sovereign rights at tanging Pilipinas lang ang may sovereign rights sa lugar pong 'yan," Roque said.
Several lawmakers have urged the executive branch to lodge a diplomatic protest against China over it's naming of the Benham Rise features.
Senator Panfilo Lacson questioned Roque's logic.
"Secretary Roque's justification is so warped that we can't simply put sense into it. Siopao and hototay are Chinese culinary creations. Benham Rise is clearly ours and so are our shoals and islets that China 'invaded and conquered' using its military might," Lacson said.
"Now can we be blmaed is we express alarm over the naming of those undersea features by China? Some people can't see the logic," he added. —NB, GMA News