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House Makabayan bloc demands full transparency on PH-China deal

/ 04:18 PM November 22, 2018
20181121 Xi Jinping Duterte

President Rodrigo Duterte and President Xi Jinping of People’s Republic of China pose for a photo prior to their expanded bilateral meeting at the Malacañan Palace on November 20, 2018. KING RODRIGUEZ/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

The Duterte administration has the obligation to fully disclose the government’s agreements with China for a joint oil and gas exploration in the West Philippine Sea (WPS), progressive lawmakers from the House Makabayan bloc asserted Thursday.

ACT Teachers Reps. Antonio Tinio and France Castro, Gabriela Rep. Emmi de Jesus, and Kabataan Rep. Sarah Elago called for a “full transparency” on the 29 agreements. 

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President Rodrigo Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping witnessed the signing of said deals during the latter’s two-day visit in the Philippines on Monday to Tuesday.

READ: PH, China sign MOU on oil and gas development, 28 other deals

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“Pinananawagan ng Makabayan na obligasyon ng Malacañang na ipaalam sa publiko ano ba talaga ang pinirmahan nyo?” Tinio said in a press briefing.

(The Makabayan is urging Malacañang that it’s the obligation of the government to inform the public whatever they have signed.)

De Jesus meanwhile said a full copy of the joint oil exploration deal should be divulged to ensure that not only a few people would benefit from the agreement.

“We care kasi alam natin na ‘yan ay hindi sa kagustuhan ng pinakamaraming mamamayan kundi sa kagustuhan lang ng iilan,” she said.

(We care because we know that this is not the liking of many but the liking of the few.)

Tinio also said that the deals, especially the one involving the WPS, should be scrutinized and its constitutionality should be questioned before the Supreme Court.

Philippines and China are locked in a territorial dispute in the WPS but Duterte has chosen to set aside this and the historic Hague ruling favoring the Philippines during the bilateral talks.

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In July 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague ruled Beijing’s claim to almost the entire WPS as invalid. /jpv

READ: Duterte optimistic of even warmer China-PH ties

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