Oil or natural gas that may be discovered within the Philippines exclusive economic zone in the West Philippine sea belong to Filipinos even if found during an oil exploration by China, House Deputy Minority Leader and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate declared Wednesday, July 21.
Zarate said government authorities, including Congress, should immediately investigate reports of a “possible illegal oil exploration of China within” the Philippines EEZ.
“If oil is found in that area then it is ours and it would be a great boost to our country’s battered economy,” said Zarate.
He urged the Philippine Coast Guard to mobilize more patrol boats in the Scarborough Shoal and other areas not only to determine the veracity of the said reports but also to protect Filipino fishermen who have been subjected to harassment by China’s Coast Guard and maritime milita.
According to him there have been suspicions that oil exploration is being conducted within the Philippines’ EEZ as indicated in the recovery by local fisherfolk off the coast of Zambales of a device supposedly used for the said purpose.
The equipment, which bore Chinese characters, was confirmed by an expert to be an ocean bottom seismometer or OBS.
“Aside from harvesting our giant clams and depleting our fisheries resources, this may be the primary reason why China’s coast guard and maritime militia bar Filipino fishermen from fishing in Scarborough shoal. They may be mainly looking for oil in our EEZ,” said the progressive solon.
“During Pres.Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s time China used the Joint Marine Seismic Undertaking (JMSU) to explore our territory to their advantage, now absent that agreement, it seems that they are doing so in the sly.,” said the Davao-based solon.
“Malacanang should not dismiss this issue outright and once again protect China’s imperial interests,” ended Rep. Zarate.