Guevarra: PH-China MOU on oil, gas needs no Senate concurrence

Published December 5, 2018, 3:48 PM

by Patrick Garcia

By Jeffrey Damicog

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra has assured that that the country’s Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Cooperation on Oil and Gas Development with China needs no Senate approval.

Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevarra announces during a press briefing in Malacañang that the matter concerning the closure of the resorts in Boracay is currently one of the top priorities that are being discussed by the cabinet citing that it would not only concern the environmental aspect of the issue but the economic impact as well. (TOTO LOZANO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra

“It’s just an MOU, it’s non-committal, non-obligatory, and non-binding from a legal standpoint,” he assured.

“It’s a mere expression of mutual desires; it’s not a treaty, and therefore does not require any senate concurrence or review,” the Secretary pointed out.

President Rodrigo Duterte signed the MOU during the recent state visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping last November.

Under the deal, the two governments agreed “to negotiate on an accelerated basis arrangements to facilitate oil and gas exploration and exploitation in relevant maritime areas consistent with applicable rules of international law.”

An inter-governmental joint steering committee, represented by both countries, will be established to negotiate the cooperation agreement and maritime areas for oil and gas exploration.

The three-page document stated that the two sides aim to complete the energy deal within 12 months.

“I have examined the MOU between the Philippines and China on oil and gas development,” Guevarra noted.

“There are no sovereignty issues whatsoever, as the MOU merely expresses a mutual desire to agree on specific cooperation arrangements within 12 months, and expressly states that the MOU shall be without prejudice to the respective legal positions of the two governments and does not give rise to any rights or obligations under international or domestic law,” he said.