“The controversies involving these two (previous) multimillion-dollar Philippine government undertakings with China are too recent to be forgotten,” Drilon said yesterday.
Ernie Peñaredondo
Franklin Drilon seeks review of 29 Philippines-China deals
Cecille Suerte Felipe (The Philippine Star) - November 23, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Saying the questionable Northrail and NBN-ZTE broadband projects are still fresh in the nation’s mind, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon has joined his colleagues’ call for a review of the 29 deals the Philippines signed with China during the recent visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping

“The controversies involving these two (previous) multimillion-dollar Philippine government undertakings with China are too recent to be forgotten,” Drilon said yesterday.

“Taking into account the grossly disadvantageous contracts that the government had previously signed with China, it is imperative that we scrutinize these new deals to assess whether the agreements are consistent with the Constitution and our laws,” he stressed.

Documents signed include a memorandum of understanding on joint oil and gas exploration in the West Philippine Sea.

The $421-million Northrail project and the $329-million NBN-ZTE broadband project were reportedly fraught with irregularities and had to be abandoned.   

Drilon said there should be absolute transparency in any agreement involving the exploration of the country’s natural resources.

He explained that exploration, development and utilization of natural resources should be under the full control and supervision of the state.

“All lands of the public domain, waters, minerals, coal, petroleum and other mineral oils, all forces of potential energy, fisheries, forests or timber, wildlife, flora and fauna, and other natural resources are owned by the State,” he said, quoting the Constitution.

“All agreements that may involve exploration of natural resources should comply with the nationality requirement of the Constitution,” he pointed out.

“The state may directly undertake activities, or it may enter into co-production, joint venture, or production-sharing agreements with Filipino citizens, or corporations or associations at least 60 percent of whose capital is owned by such citizens,” he said.

 “We will be vigilant in scrutinizing these agreements,” the Senate minority leader said. “We are prepared to go to court on this.” – Paolo Romero

FRANKLIN DRILON WEST PHILIPPINE SEA XI JINPING
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