PH can now assert right to explore oil in S. China Sea—Hilbay
THE Philippines can already assert its right to explore oil and gas reserves in the South China Sea following the favorable decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA).
Oil explorations in Reed Bank have been suspended since 2011 after Chinese ships chased a survey ship contracted by Philex Petroleum.
Reed Bank or Recto Bank is a large underwater mount that rises just nine to 45 meters short of the sea level.
“The characterization of the Reed Bank is that it is a fully submerged area within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the Philippines and so, from the legal stand point, we have exclusive economic rights over Reed Bank,” former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, one of the Philippine delegates who argued the country’s case before the PCA, said at a press conference.
“The Philippines would have exclusive economic rights and because there are no overlapping entitlements, exclusive means exclusive,” Hilbay added.
Hilbay, however, pointed out that there is a difference between having a legal right and being able to effectively enforce such right.
Hilbay and his fellow delegate, Supreme Court Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza, said enforcement of the decision will be up to the country’s chief diplomat—President Rodrigo Duterte.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.