Hontiveros urges DOE to advise firms against continuing exploration deal with China-owned firms
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Risa Hontiveros on Friday urged the Department of Energy (DOE) to advise Filipino service contractors against entering joint venture agreements with China-owned firms for oil and gas exploration in the West Philippine Sea.
In a statement, Hontiveros said that there could be no joint venture unless China honors the Philippines’ victory over the Exclusive Economic Zone in the contested waters.
In the 2016 ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), the tribunal also invalidated Beijing’s nine-dash line feature that virtually owns the entire body of water.
“Kailangan pati ang mga Pilipinong kumpanya na pinayagan nang mag-explore sa ating mga karagatan ay makiisa sa panawagan ng bansa na protektahan ang ating soberanya,” she said.
(Even our Filipino companies who were allowed to explore our waters should be with us in the country’s stand to protect our sovereignty.)
In October, President Rodrigo Duterte lifted the moratorium on oil and gas exploration in the West Philippine Sea.
The Aquino administration imposed the moratorium on all exploration and drilling activities in the West Philippine Sea in 2014 amid geopolitical tensions rising between Manila and Beijing.
As soon as the moratorium was lifted, Hontiveros said that Filipino company PXP Energy started joint venture discussions with China National Offshore Oil Corporation, one China’s largest national oil companies.
In 2011, a survey ship by PXP Energy—formerly known as PhilEx Petroleum Corporation—was harassed by Chinese boats in oil and gas-rich Recto Bank.
“We must not forget such incidents because China started this hostility in our own waters. What assurance can Beijing give that it will not do the same now?” the senator said.
“Kaya ko din hinihingi sa DOE o sa Senate Committee on Energy ang memorandum of understanding natin with China. Dapat mabusisi ito at baka tayo pala ang dehado,” the senator added.
(That is why I am asking for the memorandum of agreement with China from the DOE or the Senate Committee on Energy. We should carefully look into this because it might be unfavorable to us.) [ac]
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