Statement on China-Philippine exploration deal

By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
NDFP Chief Political Consultant
August 1, 2018

The Filipino people and all national and democratic forces should be alert to the China-Philippine exploration deal announced by DFA secretary Cayetano and should demand that the terms of the deal be made known immediately to the public.

What is exactly the 60 per cent for the Philippines and 40 per cent for China? Do these percentages pertain to ownership, costs of exploration and development and/or production sharing with the Chinese oil exploration and development company deciding what is true or fictional values of production?

But there are more important prejudicial questions to be answered about Philippine sovereignty and sovereign rights over the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and extended continental shelf (ECS) in the West Philippine Sea and about the legal victory of the Philippines before the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague in accordance with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

We need to get clear answers to such questions in view of the traitorous and cowardly policy of the Duterte regime regarding the West Philippine Sea and the previous bad experience of the Philippines in engaging with China in joint seismic undertaking or exploration during the Arroyo regime. We should recall that China never shared fully with the Philippines the essential findings and technical data from such exploration. Then it became more aggressive in claiming the West Philippine Sea and building artificial islands.

The reason why China became interested in building artificial islands as military bases in the Spratlys is not because the Aquino regime filed the Philippine case before the ITLOS in accordance with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea but because the Arroyo regime made the stupid and grave error of entering into a joint agreement on seismic undertaking with China to explore the oil and gas resources under the West Philippine Sea.

When the Chinese discovered that the oil and gas resources were abundant, they did not share the essential findings and all technical data with the Philippines and became more determined to lay claim over the entire West Philippine Sea and build more artificial islands. Vietnam backed out of the joint seismic undertaking when it noticed that China would monopolize the results of the exploration.

The next big mistake is about to be made by the Duterte regime and will be the most outrageous one. To suit the traitorous and corrupt cabal of Duterte, Arroyo and Enrique Razon who holds 75 per cent of the concession area around Reed Bank, the Philippines is once more entering into a joint agreement on seismic undertaking with China, without the assertion or premise of Philippine sovereignty and sovereign rights and without reference to the legal victory of the Philippines before the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague on July 12, 2016.

Especially under the prodding of House Speaker Arroyo and the tycoon Razon, the Duterte regime is more than ever determined to sell out Philippine sovereignty and the trillions of dollars worth of oil and gas resources under the West Philippine Sea in exchange for a few billions worth of Chinese loans for building overpriced infrastructure projects at high interest rates.

Panting like dogs after finder´s fees and commissions, Duterte and his fellow corrupt officials play stupid and keep on saying that the West Philippine Sea and the Philippine EEZ and ECS are still under dispute by the baseless Chinese claims and that the conclusive and final judgment of the Permanent Court of Arbitration amounts to nothing or is an empty victory.

Duterte and his fellow corrupt officials are so brave and merciless against the Filipino people but behave so cowardly before China by repeating ad nauseam that the the only choice that the Philippines has is to go to war against China or submit to the baseless Chinese claim of sovereignty over the West Philippine Sea.

If they were not so stupid and cowardly, they can make telling and far-reaching diplomatic protests and can file several court cases under international law to demand respect for the already won legal victory of the Philippines and for compensation for the damages to the marine environment features that belong to the Philippines. ###

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Cayetano: China open to 60-40 split on joint exploration
Published July 31, 2018 8:58pm
Updated July 31, 2018 9:29pm
http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/news/nation/662520/cayetano-china-open-to-60-40-split-on-joint-exploration/story/?utm_source=GMANews&utm_medium=Facebook&utm_campaign=news

China has expressed its willingness to conduct a 60-40 joint exploration of natural resources with the Philippines in the West Philippine Sea.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said the 60 percent would be for the Philippines while the remaining will be for China.

“That’s our starting proposition and our Chinese counterparts are open to it,” Cayetano said in a 24 Oras report by JP Soriano.

Cayetano said concerned authorities are still creating the framework agreement for the possible joint exploration, adding that officials from the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Chinese officials, and international law experts would meet to discuss the issue.

“Hopefully this August, latest September will be at that stage… that we can exchange drafts, but even when we exchange it that’s our level ‘di ba? In our side irereview pa ‘yan siguro ng Sol Gen (Solicitor General), ng ES (Executive Secretary) then OP (Office of the President) so it’s quite a process,” Cayetano said.

Cayetano noted that there is still no final region in the West Philippine Sea in which the possible joint exploration will be conducted.

However, the Philippine government previously said that S-C 72 in Reed Bank may be a possible area for the joint exploration.

Security analyst Rommel Banlaoi deemed this as a “breakthrough,” but he still reminded the government to make sure this development would show the Philippines asserting its sovereign rights in the region.

“Dapat maipakita natin na ito ay isang exercise ng ating sovereign rights at hindi tayo nagkokompromiso sa China at wala tayong ginigive-up na kahit anong karapatan natin sa area na ‘yan. Otherwise mapagdududahan ‘yung arrangement natin with China,” Banlaoi said.

There have been concerns that the joint exploration is a violation of the Philippine Constitution, but Malacañang previously pointed out that it is legal.

In 2016, the Philippines won an arbitration case filed by the Aquino administration invalidating China’s nine-dash line claim over South China Sea.

Beijing has refused to recognize the ruling.

Ties between the two countries warmed under President Rodrigo Duterte, who has said that China will be a great partner in the government’s infrastructure and economic problems.

There have been reports that China has continued to militarize some areas in the contested region.

Duterte has said the Philippines could not afford to go to war with China over the disputed territories, saying it would probably result in great destruction and losses on the part of the military. —Anna Felicia Bajo/JST, GMA News

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