Philippines willing to share Spratlys bounty – Aquino

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President Benigno Aquino III/Malacañang photo bureau

MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III is willing to share with other countries in the region the benefits of the natural gas deposits in the disputed territories in the West Philippine Sea. But he said he will not be a  party to the ceding of portions of the Philippine archipelago to a foreign power like China.

Speaking before a general assembly of alumni of US universities late Wednesday, Aquino said the Philippine government continues to talk with the Chinese for a mutually beneficial solution to their standoff over the Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal as well as other disputed territories in the area.

“I am not empowered to give up any of our territory,” the President said in answer to a suggestion that “a win-win solution” might be for the two countries to split the $35 trillion worth of natural gas that another disputed territory, the Recto Bank, is believed to hold.

The Recto Bank (international name: Reed Bank), which lies within the Philippines’ 200 nautical-mile (370 kilometers) economic zone, is located abut 150 km east of the Spratly chain of  islets, which is claimed in whole or in part by Brunei, Malaysia,

Taiwan and Vietnam, as well as the Philippines and China.

The Recto Bank, which is said to have oil and gas deposits that reach deep into the Cuyo Islands in Palawan, has been the subject of numerous exploration campaigns by the Philippines in the past.

The Philippines last year filed a diplomatic protest against China after two Chinese ships reportedly harassed a vessel that had been contracted by the government to undertake oil exploration activities in the bank.

Aquino acknowledged that the huge benefits from the resources in the disputed territories could free the region from dependence on fossil fuel from Middle Eastern and North African countries.

“If we are able to exploit these resources, that redounds to benefits for the entire region,” he said.

He said the parties to the dispute “should work towards easing the problems and the concerns of our respective peoples in the here and now and not in some future date where, you know, it is not a fair solution.”

“If it’s clear that we have a 200-mile economic zone, exclusive economic zone, designated by the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Seas, and both of us are parties to it, is it too much to ask that our rights are respected by our neighbors in the same token that we respect their rights?” he said.

The President said the Philippines doesn’t have to be “the sole winner of exploitation of resources” in the disputed areas. He said the country has always been a good neighbor to other countries in the Asia Pacific.

However, it has to draw the line when it should look after its rightful interests, he said.

“Recto Bank is 80 miles from us. There are areas that are even closer… So if we keep on subtracting about 30 percent—and not to be flippant about it—if you don’t draw the line somewhere, will we be having claims against us on the Pasig River or other rivers?” he added.

He stressed that the Philippines was resolved on a peaceful and diplomatic solution to the disputes with China, noting that it cannot afford to engage Beijing militarily.

“So we are exploring ways and means to resolve the conflict. We keep on reemphasizing that we are not for conflict. We do not want to present a threat to them in any shape, manner or form, or whatsoever in terms of military action,” he said.

“If it were just a boxing match, they’re 1.3 billion and we’re 93 million. We will not prevail. That is not the route and our Constitution actually prohibits it,” he said.

Parañaque Rep. Roilo Golez said there is an upside to the tension between the Philippines and China over the Panatag Shoal dispute.

He said the Philippines’ refusal to bow down to China has united many Filipinos against a common enemy and earned the country respect from other groups and nations.

“This extended standoff, with the Philippines not buckling down against the world’s second most powerful country, is gaining for us international respect and moral support,” Golez said in a statement.

“It is a unifying and rallying force. Even Filipino groups outside the country have mobilized themselves in support of our cause,” he said.

It also shows the world that the Philippines has a strong and steadfast foreign policy that does not crumble under economic pressure and veiled military threats, Golez said. With Leila Salaverria

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  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PRWJGP7TH7T5D6KW6EJDIDA2Q4 jesus

    Man up citizen of the philippines. Let your president know your sentiments. Go to Malacanang and protest. Tell Pnoy that you are not happy on how he’s handling the situation. Mabuhay Pilipinas!

  • levin253

    13th century map is that the Chinese claim. I have a 10th century map drawn on toilet paper. Oh wait… there is China on the center.

  • Aileen M

    WHY WOULD YOU SHARE THE BOUNTY OF YOUR TERRITORY???
    If you can only do one thing during your term, Mr. P-Noy, let it be this-  ascertain our territory and everything in it, to the whole wide world!
    Please lang po… Wag po kayong magpatakot sa China… Nasa civilized world na po tayo at malaki magagawa ng INGAY at batas.
    At tsaka, wag po kayo mag-alala about sa kakayahin natin  i-explore ang oil-rich areas natin. Dahil alam na ng buong mundo na meron tayong oil deposits, sila na mismo ang lalapit sa atin para maki-sosyo on OUR OWN TERMS.

  • Aileen M

    PLEASE DECIDE FOR THE BEST INTEREST OF THE COUNTRY.
    When you made the statement that Philippines is willing to share the Spratlys bounty, are you sure that you actually quoted “the Philippines”, or just yourself?
    Do you want to run a survey to see who actually agrees to your statement??? I bet you’ll not even  fill up a sheet of paper.

    Please give a VERY VERY SERIOUS thought on what is at stake here:
    3Trillion USD/100 million Filipinos = 30,000 USD for every living Filipino. And this amount is just an initial estimate…
    Plus, much more than the money, OUR SOVEREIGNTY as a nation!!!

    PLEASE DO NOT BE SO GENEROUS TO THIS EXTENT! We, Filipinos, need these more than anybody else…

  • Aileen M

    Kung ang Vietnam at Myanmar ay nde nagpapatakot sa China, bakit matatakot ang Pilipinas sa China???

    Tinangka na po ng China na angkinin ang ilang bahagi ng katabing maliliit na bansa nya pero ipinaglaban ng mga maliliit na bansa na ito ang kanilang karapatan sa kanilang teritoryo… At sa huli, nde nakuha ng China ang gusto nya…

    Sana po ay wag din natin kalimutan na kahit maliit na bansa tayo, nde tayo basta-basta papatakot lalo na kung meron naman tayong “legal grounds” on the matter.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/VUFRGRCCA5JXOLKEVCJQ3FBW3Y Concerned Citizen

    An Asian American has revealed that Victor Arches II is a FAKE.  He is known also by the names of Victor Qisi (or Qi Shi). “Qi Shi” means knight in mandarin.  Whoever quotes, agrees and recommends reading articles with those names must be disregarded or ignored because everything they write are mostly HOAX as well.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001252607095 Yulin Sun

      Why did you question Mr Victor again and again. Would you please question his theory?

      I have replied you questions. Any more question on UNCLOS?

      • rodulio

        he is part of history and just like that….

        hahahahaha

  • rodulio

    He is a scholar and a historian. However his perspective doesn’t count in the ITLOS and UNCLOS III.

    Better yet, why don’t you all disregards this and checkout the speech of Commander Locklear, Chief of Command in the Pacific Rim as he reiterates the growing threat by North Korea and China on his speech and the shifting strategy of the U.S. in the South China Sea.

    It also provides a little bit of an inside clues as to the planning stages and future events that is going to unfold down the road. Man this is big and it is just happening on the background.

    PurpleDaisy13 and China the dog will be contained….

    hahahahahah

    Here doggie, doggie…..

    hehehehehh

  • rodulio

    ITLOS/UNCLOS III is just another diplomatic way to resolve issues, another one would be the development of bi-lateral relationships and U.S. has been doing a good job than China with that are more and more countries have having relations with the U.S. Lastly, the Military strategic shift from Afghanistan to the South China Sea clearly denotes an increasing commitments by the U.S. and other countries in the South China Sea…

    The only result if any of the above didn’t get resolve is that China and PurpleDaisy13 will be contained one way or another…we are going to see more better and stronger bi-lateral relationships with India, New Zealand, South Korea, and again the Philippines…

    PurpleDaisy13 you can call me flip flop and it doesn’t matter because it the end..

    You and China will be contained like a dog…

    hahahahahha…

    hahaha…

  • rodulio

    Check PentagonChannel….

    China and PurpleDaisy13 will be contained like a dog….

    hahahah

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