Escudero warns China-PH deals may affect our WPS claims
Senator Francis Escudero warned on Wednesday that the memorandum of understanding (MOU) for oil and gas development signed by China and the Philippines may have an effect on the country’s claims in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).
“Kung gobyerno na din mismo ang papasok sa kasunduang iyon, baka magkaroon ng epekto sa arbitral ruling ng korte at magkaroon ng epekto sa hinaharap kaugnay sa claims at interest ng magkabilang bansa,” he said in a statement on Wednesday.
(If the government itself has entered into that agreement, it might have an effect on the arbitral ruling and may also have an effect on the future claims of the two nations.)
Last Tuesday, President Rodrigo Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping witnessed the signing of MOU on gas and oil development. However, the location was not disclosed.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. and Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi signed the agreement.
Escudero called on the government to reveal the details of the bilateral agreements to allow public opinion on the agreements to form.
“Hinihiling natin sa ngalan ng sambayanan na ipagbigay-alam sa publiko lahat ng kasunduan na pinirmahan lalo na kaugnay sa joint exploration deal sa pagitan ng Pilipinas at China. Doon pa lamang at pagkatapos pa lamang siguro noon pwedeng mag-komentaryo ang sinuman kung tama nga ba ito at kung sang-ayon ba sila o hindi,” Escudero said.
(We are asking the government to make public the details of the agreements on the joint exploration deal between the Philippines and China. Only then can anybody comment if this is advantageous to us and if they agree with it or not.)
Escudero cited that during the Arroyo administration, the Joint Marine Seismic Undertaking (JMSU), an agreement on oil offshore exploration among China, the Philippines, and Vietnam was also signed, but the agreement only concerned the country’s oil companies.
“Noong panahon ni dating Pangulong Arroyo ang ginawa nila ay ito: Nagtayo sila ng hiwalay na kumpanyang pribado sa China at dito, at hinayaan nila yung dalawang pribadong kompanyang iyon ang magkasundo kaugnay sa joint exploration. Hindi ang gobyerno ng Pilipinas at gobyerno ng China ang pumasok sa kasunduang iyon,” he said.
(During the time of former President Arroyo, they set up a private company here and in China and allowed those two private companies to work on the joint exploration. It’s not the Chinese or the Philippine government who were involved in the deal.)
Aside from agreements on oil and gas exploration, there were 28 other deals on trade, infrastructure, and education, among others, signed in Malacañang. /ee
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