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Recto believes PH interest is safe in joint exploration with China

By: - Reporter / @CMarquezINQ
/ 02:38 PM November 24, 2018
ralph-recto

Senator Ralph Recto. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto on Saturday believed that the country’s interest is “safe” in its oil exploration agreement with China.

Recto was convinced after two “eminent experts” such as Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio and former Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto del Rosario said there was “nothing being given away” to China concerning the deal.

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“This seal of a good agreement from two eminent experts bodes well for the eventual forging of a constitutionally-compliant venture that is economically beneficial to us,” he said in a statement.

This was after President Rodrigo Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping witnessed the signing of the joint agreement on oil and gas development last Tuesday during Xi’s two-day state visit to the country.

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The MOU was signed by Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. and its China counterpart together with 28 other bilateral agreements.

READ: Locsin: Durterte did not push for oil and gas exploration deal with China

Recto added there was an urgency for our country to have “energy independence,” noting that Malampaya in Palawan may soon run out of natural gas.

“There is an urgency in our search for energy independence. The Malampaya field off Palawan could run out of natural gas by 2024. This spectre of energy starvation is what should drive the renewed hunt for new gas and oil fields within our seas,” he said.

The Malampaya provides 40 percent to 50 percent of energy in Luzon. It also fuels five baseload plants in Batangas with a capacity of 3,211 megawatts.

With this, Recto said if the plants’ fuel source would go dry, substitutes may be imported, until the country would hopefully “strike gas in a territory to contain large deposits of it.”

Recto also admitted that there is a “great wall” blocking the country’s access on West Philippine Sea (WPS), noting the difficulty on country’s cooperation with China.

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“It is not easy to walk on this tightrope, of cooperating with another nation and contesting some of its actions at the same time. We are caught between a dark future and a powerful force,” he said. /jpv

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