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Moratorium on oil exploration in West Philippine sea stays


By Roy Mabasa

President Rodrigo Duterte is not inclined to immediately lift the existing moratorium on oil and gas exploration in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) until such time that it serves the country’s highest interest.

Spratly Islands in the South China Sea (REUTERS/Ritchie B. Tongo/Pool/File Photo / MANILA BULLETIN)

An aerial photo taken though a glass window of a Philippine military plane shows the Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, west of Palawan.
(REUTERS/Ritchie B. Tongo/Pool/File Photo / MANILA BULLETIN)

The President made this stand when asked by reporters about the possibility of a joint exploration between the Philippines and China, and the eventual lifting of the moratorium.

“I will only lift it when I think the higher interest of the Philippines is served,” the President said at the sidelines of the League of Cities assembly in Taguig City, Tuesday night.

The Chief Executive, however, said that the joint exploration is still “one of the possibilities” with other players from claimant countries, mostly from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region.

“It’s one of the possibilities that will happen or can happen or will happen in South China Sea. There’s really — it’s an area too big. But I think the players there would really be the ASEAN members who are also claimants. There’s overlapping,” he said.

He explained that the issue is not only between the Philippines and China, China and Taipei, China and Viet Nam, and China and Malaysia, or China and Indonesia.

“Wala… ‘Yung atin is one aspect of the problem. The totality of the problem is that almost all claimants are within the ASEAN neighborhood,” the President pointed out.

Under the projected joint exploration, the President surmised that parties could also jointly explore what they can extract, such as valuable minerals, aside from the ores.

“That’s what they’re looking at,” he said.

On the other hand, the President stood firm on his decision not to allow black sand mining in the Philippines.

“For example, like the black sand, this has to stop. Nobody is allowed. Nobody but nobody is allowed to mine the black sands and export it,” he said.

Citing scientific claims, the President noted that there are a lot of “useful and maybe expensive” minerals that could be taken out from black sand.

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  • cRossMinDer

    all of his statements will change someday once China talks… mark it..!

  • Sinordes .

    Oil… Oil… Oil… is indeed a money. Oil is the bloodline of country’s economy and power. Oil display stature in world stage, and oil is a liquid jewel to everybody. Yet only few is aware that the dependency on oil changed your perspective how you care for the nature. Climate scientist claimed that dependency on oil has changed the temperature of the world since its discovery on the 17th century. Now only few dare to even aware for the rising seas, declining agricultural production and scorching heat in the air, due to what only people think is about your own survival and your dream to have a better life here on earth, What about the next generation? Your children? Nobody cares then, which means you don’t really love your children.

    Governments and global corporations pretending to be blind on what is going around the environment, all they think about is economic growth and profit growth. In fact these entities even has a power to divert the usage of oil to another form of energy if they are serious in doing so, but all they do is to insist on using oil as most politicians and capitalists are an established entity to oil production, so its natural that removing oil on the board will definitely lost their economic and profit growth. There are a lot of source of energy that generates power from environment itself, sun, geothermal, wind and even matter conversion to clean energy, and even harnessing the particle fusion which has better nuclear waste management than the existing one. Energy storage on the other hand can be enhanced in a commercial scale if their are political will. All of these can easily be done if there’s a big political will, but the sad thing is man is a short lived entity and needs to feed himself with pleasantries before dying. Rather than dedicating itself from moving to a clean and efficient energy for the future of our children, man rather choose the easy way around. What a sad future of the earth.