SEN. Francis Pangilinan yesterday asked Malacañang to submit to the Senate a report of agreements it made with China, particularly that on a joint oil exploration in the West Philippine Sea.
He said Filipinos have the right to know the details of the agreements, particularly on the joint exploration which he said involves resources in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.
“Teritoryo natin ito at likas-yaman natin ito. Karapatan nating mga Pilipino na malaman ang mga detalye nito (It’s our territory and it’s our natural resources. The Filipino people have all the right to be informed and know the details),” Pangilinan said.
He also said Filipinos, if informed of the details of the joint exploration, can decide whether it will be good or disadvantageous for the country.
Pangilinan issued the statement as President Duterte returned from his fifth visit to Beijing.
The Philippines and China agreed to form working groups to prepare commercial oil and gas agreements in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) which China claims under a “nine-dash line” that the Permanent Court of Arbitration invalidated in July 2016.
Pangilinan said the Philippines has the right to explore resources in its EEZ with or without China.
Pangilinan acknowledged that talking business with China over the disputed territory is better than fighting. However, he urged the people to remain vigilant to ensure that the administration would not get into any deal that would be lopsided and would put the Filipinos on the losing end.