^

Headlines

‘Upright officials needed to uphold sea rights’

Pia Lee-Brago - The Philippine Star
âUpright officials needed to uphold sea rightsâ
“The incoming administration of president-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has a challenging task ahead: to appoint upright and patriotic officials in energy and foreign affairs who have the talent and skill to find ways to secure new energy sources needed by our country, while steadfastly upholding our sovereign rights in the West Philippine Sea, as guaranteed by international law and our Constitution,” former foreign secretary Albert del Rosario said.
US Navy / File

MANILA, Philippines — “Upright” and “patriotic” officials are needed to lead the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and Department of Energy to secure new energy sources for the Philippines and uphold sovereign rights in the West Philippine Sea (WPS), the country’s former top diplomat said over the weekend.

With the major source of the country’s energy, the Malampaya gas field running out of gas in the next years, former foreign secretary Albert del Rosario cited the need for new energy sources to support livelihood.

The Philippines cannot afford to import most of its energy requirements from other countries, he said in a statement.

“The incoming administration of president-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has a challenging task ahead: to appoint upright and patriotic officials in energy and foreign affairs who have the talent and skill to find ways to secure new energy sources needed by our country, while steadfastly upholding our sovereign rights in the West Philippine Sea, as guaranteed by international law and our Constitution,” Del Rosario said.

During the celebration of the DFA’s 124th founding anniversary on Thursday, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. announced that the oil and gas discussions with China have been terminated, over three years after the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on cooperation on oil and gas development in 2018.

“We appreciate Secretary Locsin’s words that ‘in upholding the rule of law and not of might as the way forward, we’ve held on to UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea) and the 2016 arbitral award,” Del Rosario said.

“They are the twin anchors of the Philippine position on the West Philippine and South China Seas,” he added.

He stressed that it remains imperative for the country to find new energy sources and remain steadfast in upholding sovereign rights in the West Philippine Sea, as embodied in the 2016 Hague ruling, as resources in the WPS are immeasurable and will support the country’s next generations.

Locsin said he carried out President Duterte’s instructions to completely terminate oil and gas discussions with China after the past three years did not yield any achievement to develop oil and gas resources.

In 2019, Locsin said no other country was interested in a joint oil exploration with the Philippine in the WPS except China.

‘Revive joint oil, gas exploration’

Meanwhile, an official of the Philippine National Oil Co. (PNOC) said the MOU for joint exploration for oil and gas in the WPS should be revived.

In a statement, PNOC board member Michael Macapagal said Marcos is in a strong position to adopt and implement policies designed to revive the economy, including the revival of the MOU.

“The West Philippine Sea – and technical studies bear this out – is rich in oil and gas. Under the leadership of President-elect Marcos, we’ll be able to finally end our dependence on imported fuel,” Macapagal said.

The MOU between the Philippines and China provides a 60-40 sharing arrangement in favor of the Philippines, with China bringing its technical know-how and financial capability to the table, he said.

The two countries were set to make the agreement final and start drilling, but the COVID-19 pandemic got in the way, he added.

“But be that as it may, we shouldn’t close the doors to other players, an American company for instance, or even a German company. We need a foreign partner, and I’m sure President Marcos will be able to get the best deal for the Philippines, whoever that foreign partner may be,” Macapagal said.

“Now is the time to put things back on track, with the new president at the helm,” he added.

He also urged the incoming Marcos administration to modernize and accelerate developments at the Philippines Ports Authority, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority and Clark Development Corp. to attract foreign direct investments.

DFA

Philstar
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

FORGOT PASSWORD?
SIGN IN
or sign in with
no session for state
no session for code
no session for id_token
no session for user