Lawmakers urges the Duterte administration to push the plans on drilling oil and also utilize resourses in some areas in the West Philippine Sea which China are claiming.
Both Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon and Sen. Richard Gordon stated in separate interviews that the Philippines has a sovereign right to use resources within its exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
Drilon stated that it is a must to continue in asserting our rights over our territory including drilling, because that is within the country’s territory.
Also, Senator Sonny Angara said that the country should start exploring for oil in the South China Sea but it should be done “carefully”. He also said that natural gas reserves from the Malampaya complex should be expended soon.
“The challenge is how to skirt the issue of sovereignty. Can we (claimant nations) set aside the issue temporarily and focus on the economic benefits?” Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto said. He also said the government must try to secure a new deal that will ensure bigger profit for the country other than the current Malampaya.
A week ago, President Duterte stated in his speech that his China’s counterpart had threatened war if the country pushes through its plan in drilling oil on some parts of the West Philippine Sea.
However, at press conference on Monday, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano asserted that other senators who were urging to file a diplomatic protest against China’s war threat against the Philippines would change their minds once they are briefed of what exactly was discussed during the two leader’s meeting which he will do after his trip to Russia.
Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano was present during the meeting of the two leaders. But the Beijing avoided to discussed the war threat President Duterte stated.
Meanwhile, Senator Gatchalian that the government should now focus in constructing naval and research facilities near the Benham Rise now called Philippine Sea.
“You have to look at the context [of the conversation]. The context was about conflict resolution, not threatening each other but how to stabilize the region and how to prevent conflict,” DFA Sec. Cayetano said.