Senators back Marcos Jr.’s oil exploration tack
Sen. Risa Hontiveros on Friday said President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. should make good on his pronouncement that the Philippines will consider other ways to search for oil and gas in the West Philippine Sea after the President said talks with China have reached a stalemate.
The talks were stalled after China insisted that any agreement follow Chinese laws although the areas under consideration are within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and China’s claims to those areas have been rejected as illegal under international law.
“The President’s words should be backed up by actual exploration,” Hontiveros told reporters. “I hope this is not just lip service, which we have heard before.”
The opposition senator said she would support the initiative to explore the resource-rich maritime region within the country’s 370-kilometer EEZ as long as it is consistent with the Constitution.
The Philippine National Oil Co., she added, should take the lead in the possible agreements that the government may enter into with foreign governments.
Adhere to sovereign rights
Said Hontiveros: “We will back this effort if it meets all of the criteria in terms of financial, legal and technical capacity that is consistent with our goal of protecting the Filipino people’s best interests.” “Our consistent assertion in the West Philippine Sea is equally vital and we should support and welcome those who wish to respect and adhere to our sovereign rights, particularly those essential industries that play a crucial role in the modernization of our economy,” she added.
Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri also expressed his support for Mr. Marcos’ position, saying the Philippines should not allow itself to “be bullied within our territories.”
“Let us now find our own fuel and oil reserves for our country’s energy security,” Zubiri said.
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