China dangles 60% oil share
In return for PH to cast aside arbitral ruling
“Then allow everybody connected with the Chinese companies. They want to explore. If there is something, they said, we will be gracious enough to give you 60 percent, only 40 percent will be theirs. That is the promise of Xi Jinping,” Duterte said. Duterte met with Xi two weeks ago while on a five-day visit to China, saying he would invoke the country’s arbitral victory that spelled out the Philippines’ marine entitlements in the South China Sea and junked Beijing’s historic claims. READ: Xi jilts Duterte on sea claim But Xi maintained his position that China will not recognize the ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, Malacañang said. Last week, Duterte said he was not satisfied with Xi’s response but opted not to insist on the matter since the Chinese leader was under stress due to the political unrest in Hong Kong, an administrative region of China. “Both leaders agreed that while their variant positions will have to remain, their differences, however, need not derail nor diminish the amity between the two countries,” Malacañang said. During his visit, Duterte also raised the possibility of a joint oil exploration agreement between the two countries. Asked if the country’s exclusive economic zone will be included in the joint oil venture, Duterte said: “The exclusive economic zone is part of the arbitral ruling which we will ignore for joint activity.” The Hague-based court ruled in 2016 that the Philippines had legal rights to exploit gas deposits that China also claims in the Reed Bank, about 85 miles off the Philippine coast. This comes at a time when the country’s gas resources in the Malampaya fields are set to run out by 2024. Duterte again criticized former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario for being responsible for the loss of the country’s possession of the Panatag Shoal in 2012, which is now under Chinese control. “What do you want, Del Rosario? You were the one who retreated. You are the foolest (sic) Filipino I’ve met,” he said. Reacting to the President’s remark, Del Rosario said the Arbitral Ruling is already part of international law which clarified the extent of Philippine sovereign rights protected under the Constitution. In particular, the Arbitral Ruling clarified the extent of our exclusive economic zone (EEZ) protected under the Constitution. The Constitution, which the President has sworn to preserve and defend, mandates that the use and enjoyment of our EEZ is “reserved” exclusively to Filipino citizens, he said. “Moreover, the Constitution expressly mandates the President and our military” to secure the sovereignty of the State and the integrity of the national territory, which includes our EEZ and the West Philippine Sea.” The former foreign chief reminded the President that to come up with economic activity in our EEZ need not involve setting aside the Arbitral Ruling and running afoul of the Constitution. ‘‘We would like to respectfully emphasize that the President has a choice not to set aside the Arbitral Ruling to come up with an economic activity in our EEZ. If a service contract arrangement is followed, where a Chinese company participates either as an equity holder or a subcontractor, the President would remain faithful to the Constitution and the Arbitral Ruling,” del Rosario said. In this way, the President will also not turn back on his promise to the Filipino people made during his October 16, 2016 departure speech, as he embarked on State visits to Brunei Darussalam and China, that he cannot be the sole authorized agent to share with the Chinese, our EEZ which belongs exclusively to the Filipino people. In the wake of the President’s remarks, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. assured the public that the 2016 ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration will not be set aside.