PRES. DUTERTE TO INSIST 'BIGGER SHARE' FROM OIL EXPLORATION DEAL WITH CHINA
President Rodrigo Duterte said he will insist that the country should get a bigger share of the oil that may be extracted in the West Philippine Sea from the planned joint exploration with China.
During his speech in Puerto Princesa City in Palawan on Saturday, the president said the country needs the money to solve the persistent brownouts in Palawan.
Under the 1987 Constitution, the exploration, development, and utilization of natural resources should be under the full control of the state with at least 60% ownership of Filipino citizens.
Earlier, the Palace said the joint exploration with the Asian giant may be considered under Service Contract (SC) Numbers 57 and SC 72 which were both cancelled following the case lodged by the government in the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague, Netherlands against China over the West Philippine Sea dispute.
Service Contract 57 involves joint exploration covering the offshore Calamian, northwest of Palawan while the Service Contract 72, is a joint exploration involving a block of Recto Bank (Reed Bank), which is part of the disputed islands in the West Philippine Sea.
However, last week, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi revealed that the president is likely to sign the Service Contract No. 57 owned by Philippine National Oil Company-Exploration Corporation with China state-owned oil producer China National Offshore Oil Corporation as its possible partner.
Earlier, former Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano confirmed that a draft framework has been on the works for the planned joint exploration with China.
The said joint exploration deal is expected to be discussed this month during the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Last month, the president signed an oil exploration deal with Israel firm Ratio Petroleum Limited to drill for possible oil and gas resources in the East Palawan Basin, the very first petroleum service contract signed under the Duterte administration.