Lacson backs joint oil exploration in WPS with ‘any country not necessarily China’
MANILA, Philippines — Presidential aspirant Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson reiterated his support for joint ventures with other countries in exploring and harnessing energy sources in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).
However, Lacson clarified that the 60-40 formula in the Philippines’ Constitution should be strictly followed in these ventures.
“I’m supportive of a joint exploration with any country, not necessarily China. We don’t have the wherewithal or technical expertise to explore oil,” said Lacson during an interview in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental on Saturday.
“Just imagine if we can harness such oil and natural gas resources, what it can do to the Philippines as a country economically,” Lacson added.
According to Lacson, there are at least 200 billion barrels of oil in Area 72 in the West Philippine Sea, but the Philippines currently lacks the technical and financial resources to explore energy resources in the WPS on its own even if these are within the country’s maritime territory.
In the joint ventures, Lacson said that the partner country should adhere to Sec. 2, Art. XII of the 1987 Philippine Constitution, which says the State “may enter into co-production, joint venture, or production-sharing agreements with Filipino citizens, or corporations or associations at least sixty per centum of whose capital is owned by such citizens.”
He then reiterated that China’s bullying in the West Philippine Sea has resulted in a” triple whammy,” affecting the country’s national security, food security and economic security.
However, Lacson maintained that the Philippines’ foreign policy must remain anchored on the country’s national interest “but directed at strengthening our alliances with equally powerful countries like China.”
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