Duterte to insist larger share of oil found in disputed waters

Published November 11, 2018, 1:44 PM

by Francine Ciasico

By Argyll Cyrus Geducos

President Duterte said he will insist on China that the Philippines should get a larger share of the oil that may be found during the country’s planned joint exploration with the Asian giant in the disputed South China Sea.

President Rodrigo Duterte (PCOO/ Facebook)
President Rodrigo Duterte (PCOO/ Facebook)

Duterte made the statement as he joined the launch of Palawan’s first ‘Subaraw Biodiversity Festival’ in Puerto Princesa Saturday evening.

In his speech, Duterte said the country needs the oil to light up areas in the Philippines which still has no electricity.

“‘Yang oil sinabi ko sa China, kung meron man at kayo ‘yung mag-di-drill diyan ng oil, sabi ko (I told China that in case there’s oil there and they will drill it, I said, ‘I will have to insist on mas malaki ‘yung amin. Amin ‘yan eh (that we get a larger share because that’s ours),'” he said.

“Alam mo bakit? Kailangan ko ‘yung pera kasi ‘yung inyong sitwasyon dito, ‘yung inyong ilaw dito (You know why? I need the money because your power here), at this late of the day of development in the country, may brownout kayo na (you are still experiencing brownouts for) six to eight hours. That is not acceptable to me,” he added.

In March this year, Malacañang announced that Service Contract (SC) 57 and SC 72 are the areas where the joint exploration may take place. Roque earlier said that since SC 57 is under the Philippine EZ, China would have to comply with domestic laws.

“They will absolutely be subject to Philippine laws if it is [SC] 57. It would have to be the mining code. The domestic law of the Philippines will prevail over [SC] 57,” the Palace had said.

According to the Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC) SC 57 was awarded to PNOC Exploration Corporation (EC) on September 15, 2005. It covers a total area of 7,120 sq. km. in offshore northwest Palawan and is situated around 50 kilometers northwest from the north-westernmost tip of Busuanga Island.

Malacañang also said there would be no problem if the Philippines decides to allow China to jointly explore, exploit and develop areas under the EEZ because the government holds the sovereign decision to do so.

Last month, the Philippines signed a joint exploration deal with Israel’s Ratio Oil. Duterte said he is hoping that the joint exploration can help ease the effect of inflation in the country.