Oil prices as excuse for China deal hit
The Duterte administration should refrain from using soaring oil prices as an excuse to enter into a joint oil exploration deal with China in the West Philippine Sea (WPS), according to Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque has said Malacañang is working on the terms of the deal, which may be signed as a welcome gift to Chinese President Xi Jinping when he visits Manila next month.
“The Duterte administration is making it look like the only option for us to control oil prices is through the proposed joint exploration with China,” Alejano said in a statement.
“They have been using all kinds of justifications,” he said.
Not a solution
Entering into an oil exploration deal with China, Alejano said, is “not the immediate solution to increasing prices of oil products.”
As argued by his fellow legislators, the former Marine captain insisted that suspending the excise on fuel would help cushion the effects of unabated oil price increases.
Former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, who headed the Philippine legal team that secured victory for the Philippines in the international arbitral court over China in the South China Sea dispute, said the government should be transparent with all its dealings with China.
He said a joint exploration with Beijing in the WPS, waters in the vast South China Sea within the Philippines’ 370-kilometer exclusive economic zone, was akin to abandoning the country’s legal victory and “surrendering the country’s ownership of the West Philippine Sea.”
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