Joint WPS oil exploration plan with China a raw deal –De Lima
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines will be at a disadvantage should President Rodrigo Duterte ignore the 2016 arbitral ruling on the West Philippine Sea against China, detained Senator Leila De Lima said on Tuesday.
“Malinaw naman na sa relasyong Pilipinas at Tsina, lugi pa rin tayo, anuman ang hatian, kasi hindi naman tayo dapat nakikihati lang dahil atin ang West Philippine Sea,” she said in a statement, referring to the planned joint oil and gas exploration.
“The moment the Duterte administration enters into a joint venture agreement with China, our rights over our own territory are diminished. Kaya kung ngayon ay 60-40, baka bukas makalawa ay baka 100 porsiyento na ng ating pag-aari ay nakuha na ng China,” she added.
De Lima also underscored that ignoring the arbitral ruling would leave not only a”generation of orphans” but also a “generation of beggars” surviving on crumbs from China’s banquet coming.”
Duterte earlier said that Philippines and China “will ignore” the 2016 Hague Ruling on West Philippine Sea in order for the joint exploration to push through.
“The gall of the President to even think of setting aside our legal victory at The Hague to give way to an exploration deal with a country who, from the start, has never shown regard for our sovereign right as a nation,” De Lima stressed.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, however, clarified that Duterte will never abandon the landmark decision.
“The President has not abandoned, nor is he abandoning, and neither will he ever abandon the favorable arbitral award issued by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, more so with respect to our rights in the West Philippine Sea,” Panelo said.
The Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration, on July 12, 2016 found no legal basis for China’s “nine-dash line” claim which covers cuts through the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone./gsg
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