Robin bats for resumption of Phl-China WPS joint oil exploration

The governments of the Philippines and China should resume their bilateral talks for cooperation on oil-gas development in the West Philippine Sea, Senator Robinhood “Robin” Padilla said on Thursday.,Padilla, through his newly-filed Senate Resolution No. 9, stressed that the two countries should continue their joint oil exploration deal to address the problems caused by skyrocketing prices of oil due to international developments such as the Russia-Ukraine conflict.,He cited a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Cooperation on Oil and Gas Development between the Philippines and China on 20 November 2018.,“Now therefore, be it resolved, as it is hereby resolved, urging President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. to resume the bilateral talks with the People’s Republic of China for the purposes of cooperation on oil and gas development in the West Philippine Sea,” Padilla said in his resolution.,“The Philippines requires a long-term strategy to resolve its oil dependency from foreign sources as the country is vulnerable to the negative effect of the skyrocketing oil prices dictated by the world market’s reaction to the Russia-Ukraine conflict,” he added.,The neophyte senator stressed that the Philippines and China understand that the MOU — which former Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. recently announced had been terminated — does not pose any derogation to the Philippines’ assertion of its sovereign rights in the West Philippine Sea.,“The parties further understand that the MOU shall not be prejudicial to ‘respective legal positions’ which ‘does not create rights or obligations under international or domestic law’ and as such, there is no derogation of the Philippines’ assertion of its sovereign rights in the West Philippine Sea,” he said.,He also said the execution of the MOU is a “valid exercise of the executive powers of the President” under Sec. 1, Art. VII of the Constitution.,Padilla added Section 2, Article XII of the Constitution allows the Philippines to “directly undertake to or enter into co-production, joint venture or production-sharing agreements on petroleum and other mineral oils and all forces of potential energy.”,“The new administration has the opportunity to resume the bilateral talks with the People’s Republic of China for purposes of cooperation in the WPS on gas and oil development without bargaining the sovereign rights of the Philippines on the disputed territories therein,” Padilla pointed out.,“In view of the gains attained from the MOU where the GRP and PRC cooperated on the terms provided therein on the gas and oil development in the WPS, the new administration can further explore these common interests of cooperation to resolve the country’s oil dependency from foreign countries,” he added.,Last week, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. issued a directive to the Department of Transportation to renegotiate loan agreements with China for the three big-ticket railway projects, initiated by the Duterte administration.,Transportation Undersecretary Cesar Chavez said the three railway projects were to be funded under China’s official development assistance through loan agreements between the governments of the Philippines and China.,However, the loan agreements for the three railway projects were now considered “withdrawn” after the Chinese government failed to act on the funding requests by the Duterte administration.