Pangilinan: What will we gain by letting China do research at PH Rise?
Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan on Monday demanded “full transparency” after the “alarming‘ admission of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) that it had allowed China to conduct maritime research in the Philippine Rise, formerly callede Benham Rise.
“We are alarmed by the admission of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) that it has allowed China to conduct maritime research in Benham Rise,” Pangilinan said in a statement. “We demand full transparency of the deal.”
Pangilinan also questioned if the country could gain from the deal and what its impact would be..
“What will the country stand to gain from this marine scientific research? Why do we need to partner with China? Can’t the Philippines do it on its own?” he said. “What is in store for China after the research? How long will this be carried out, and what will be the coverage of the research? What are the mechanisms and guidelines in place in the conduct of the activity?”
“Most importantly, what would be the impact of such joint undertaking on the Philippines’ national interest and security?” he added.
The senator said he raised these queries because “history and experience tell us that China is not exactly the most trustworthy partner for such an activity.”
“We cannot turn a blind eye to past reports about China’s bullying of our local fishermen and its constant patrolling of disputed waters in the West Philippine Sea,” he said.
In an earlier press briefing, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque clarified that the Philippines has “sovereign rights to explore and exploit the natural resources found in the Benham Rise region.”
“Kasama po sa exclusive na karapatan ng sovereign rights ay ‘yung desisyon, iyong sovereign decision na payagan iyong ibang mga bansa na mag-conduct ng scientific studies,” he said. /atm
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