Press Release
November 21, 2018


Sen. Chiz Escudero wants the government to reveal to the public the details of all the bilateral agreements signed between the Philippines and the People's Republic of China, particularly the deal on the joint exploration on the oil and gas reserves in the West Philippine Sea.

"Hinihiling natin sa ngalan ng sambayanan na ipagbigay-alam sa publiko lahat ng kasunduan na pinirmahan lalo na kaugnay sa joint exploration deal sa pagitan ng Pilipinas at China. Doon pa lamang at pagkatapos pa lamang siguro noon pwedeng mag-komentaryo ang sinuman kung tama nga ba ito at kung sang-ayon ba sila o hindi," Escudero said.

On the first day of Chinese President Xi Jin Ping's two-day visit here, the administration inked 29 bilateral deals with the Beijing government, including the joint oil and gas exploration.

Escudero recalled that during the Arroyo administration, the Philippines, China and Vietnam entered into an agreement to jointly conduct oil offshore exploration covering both disputed and undisputed waters, also known as the Joint Marine Seismic Undertaking (JMSU). However, he said, the agreement was between the countries' respective oil companies.

He also warned of the possible implications of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) on the joint oil and gas development between Beijing and Manila on the Philippines' claims in the West Philippine Sea.

"Noong panahon ni dating Pangulong Arroyo ang ginawa nila ay ito: Nagtayo sila ng hiwalay na kumpanyang pribado sa China at dito, at hinayaan nila yung dalawang pribadong kompanyang iyon ang magkasundo kaugnay sa joint exploration. Hindi ang gobyerno ng Pilipinas at gobyerno ng China ang pumasok sa kasunduang iyon, dahil kung gobyerno na din mismo ang papasok sa kasunduang iyon, baka magkaroon ng epekto sa arbitral ruling ng korte at magkaroon ng epekto sa hinaharap kaugnay sa claims at interest ng magkabilang bansa," Escudero said.

Results of a survey conducted by the Social Weather Stations showed that 84 percent of Filipinos reject the government's "do nothing policy" on the West Philippine Sea.

While the government cannot enforce the ruling of the international court that grants the Philippines ownership over territories in the disputed sea, the least the government can do is to assert its claim in the policy speeches and declarations because this is what the Filipino people are expecting, he said.

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