Cayetano: PH has ‘nothing to lose, gain everything’ in joint oil and gas exploration with China
Former Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano on Thursday said the Philippines will “lose nothing and gain everything” in the joint exploration agreement with China.
During the state visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping, the Philippines and China signed a memorandum of understanding for oil and gas development cooperation.
“This is a game-changer for us, we lose nothing and gain everything,” Cayetano said in an interview over ABS CBN News Channel.
The former Foreign Affairs secretary cited the Service Contract 72 which covers the disputed Reed Bank, where one of the wells is projected to be three times bigger than Malampaya.
“Going back to 72, there are at least six wells there. One well is the Sampaguita Well. It’s projected to have the same or three times bigger than Malampaya,” he said.
If that’s true, right now Malampaya provides 40 percent for the energy of Luzon. If it’s times three, you’ll have 120 percent. Suddenly, for Luzon at least, you don’t have to import oil and gas, so self-sufficient na tayo,” he added.
Cayetano said the government needs to make a deal with China as the supply from the Malampaya gas project will start to decline by 2024.
“Pero baka sabihin mo, ‘What’s the rush? Baka 10 years from now, 100 years from now, ma-settle ‘yung dispute, atin yan’,” Cayetano said.
“Ang problema by 2024, one-third na lang yung output ng Malampaya. So from 40 percent baka 15 percent na lang, so we have to import the 25 percent, and in another three years, baka wala na ang Malampaya,” he pointed out.
Cayetano lambasted critics for saying that through the joint exploration deal with China, the Philippines would lose sovereignty rights over the disputed areas.
“All of these people who are saying na mawawala sa ‘tin, hindi po mawawala. But ang problema, these people don’t look at the suffering people na inflation, ang taas ng presyo ng langis, walang trabaho ang mga tao,” he said.
Cayetano added among the 29 agreements the country has signed during Xi’s visit, the oil and gas exploration agreement and the Belt and Road Initiative will have the most impact on the Filipinos. /muf
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