Duterte: Honor commitment on joint oil exploration to avoid conflict

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MANILA – President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Monday urged the next administration to heed the Philippines’ commitment to the proposed joint oil exploration with China in the resource-rich West Philippine Sea (WPS) in order to prevent a conflict with China.

Duterte said there are already “so many flashpoints” across the world, citing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and China’s claims in Taiwan, that he did not want the Philippines to get involved in any conflict.

“‘Yan ang iniiwasan ko noon pa e. Tapos magkagiyera tuloy tayo dito, nandoon sa Ukraine, nandiyan yung Taiwan gusto agawin ulit ng China tapos dito (That is what I am avoiding since before. If we have a war here…there’s one in Ukraine, there’s Taiwan that China wants to get back). So many flashpoints…maraming lugar na may putok (so many places with wars). We do not need it. Di natin kailangan makipag-away diyan (We don’t need to fight with anyone),” he said in a prerecorded Talk to the People.

Failure to abide by commitments to jointly explore energy resources in the disputed sea, according to Duterte, would mean trouble for the Philippines.

“Sundin lang ninyo kung ano yung pinag-usapan noon (Just follow what was discussed before). It’s a matter of honor…Consensual talks tapos may (and a) written agreement. Pag iniba ‘yan delikado (If you change it, it’s dangerous),” he added.

He stated that while the Philippines and China may not be able to reach a peaceful resolution to their sea dispute during his presidency, what matters now is to remain calm in the face of the crisis.

“Just to remind everybody to stay cool. Chill ka lang (Just chill). It’s not in our generation na maso-solve natin itong problema sa China (that we would solve this problem with China). I don’t know what the future holds but as of this time, relax lang tayo (let’s just relax). That’s my advice para sa lahat. Ika nga, (for all. As they say), do not tempt the gods and look for trouble that we cannot maybe handle. Mahirapan tayo (We will have a difficult time),” he said.

There are currently no agreements between the Philippines and China on joint exploration activities for oil and gas at the diplomatically strained sea.

In November 2018, the two countries signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on joint oil and gas development in the WPS.

Philippine and Chinese officials are still in the process of fleshing out possible details of any joint exploration venture.

House committees to hold hearings during break

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Spread the loveMANILA – The House of Representatives has authorized for its committees to conduct hearings during the five-week congressional break, extending until late April.