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DOE, DFA say they have no copy of MOU on oil, gas dev’t; Palace says wait

By: - Reporter / @NCorralesINQ
/ 03:43 PM November 21, 2018
DOE Sec. Alfonso Cusi LYN RILLON/Philippine Daily Inquirer

DOE Sec. Alfonso Cusi LYN RILLON/Philippine Daily Inquirer

Where is the copy of the agreement?

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Department of Energy (DOE) are finger-pointing over who has a copy of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) on the oil and gas development between the Philippines and China on Tuesday.

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Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. and Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi signed the “Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation on Oil and Gas Development between the Philippines” in Malacañang witnessed by President Rodrigo Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said the energy department has no copy of the MOU.

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“DOE has no copy,” he told INQUIRER.net in a text message.

Responding to queries from reporters, the DFA told reporters that the agency has no “signed” copy of the documents.

INQUIRER.net has also asked a copy of the MOU from the Office of the President and from Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin but the two officials have yet to respond as of posting.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the government would release  “all pertinent information for public consumption” after Xi’s visit.

Xi left Manila on Wednesday at around 1:30 p.m. after his two-day state visit to the country.

READ: Xi leaves PH after historic two-day state visit

“The Palace takes into account that the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), which is the Office of Primary Responsibility during the state visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to the country, is still preoccupied with activities on Day 2 of the Chinese leader’s visit. We therefore ask for everyone’s understanding, especially the media, in this regard,” Panelo said.

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“We assure everyone that the government would release all pertinent information for public consumption once President Xi’s visit has culminated, and as soon as the complete, proper, and correct documents become certified and available,” he added.

On Tuesday, Cusi told reporters after the signing that the MOU was just a “memorandum of cooperation to explore a solution.”

Asked to clarify, he said in a text message that, it’s a “solution [on] how we can enjoy the resources” in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

A joint development and exploration in the West Philippine Sea has earned criticism as Manila and Beijing is locked in a maritime dispute in the South China Sea.

China claims nearly the entire South China Sea, including parts of the West Philippine Sea, but the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague invalidated this in July 2016, favoring the Philippines’ claims in the area.

But China refused to recognize the sea ruling. /je

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TAGS: China, Features, memorandum of understanding, MOU, oil and gas development, Philippines
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