Gov’t to prioritize PH benefit in oil exploration: Palace

The government will always consider what is beneficial to the Philippines in so far as the terms of reference on the proposed joint exploration for oil and gas in the West Philippine Sea is concerned, Malacañang said on Monday.

This, after Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. bared that he has accepted China’s version of the terms of reference as “superior” to the Philippine’s version of the framework on the proposed joint exploration between the two countries.

“Kung ano yung beneficial sa ating bansa, doon tayo. Yun ang absolute na position natin (We are for what will be beneficial to our country. That’s our absolute position),” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement.

Panelo, meanwhile, said he will ask for a copy of the Philippines’ version of the terms of reference.

Duterte has suggested a 60-40 sharing arrangement on the joint oil exploration.

Earlier, Panelo said the reason why joint ventures were necessary is because the Philippines lacks the capacity to do it alone.

In a tweet on Sunday, Locsin said negotiations between Philippines and China on the joint exploration were going well but rejected Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi’s statement that the two countries are looking at November as a deadline.

“There is no one-year deadline for specific project. Just best effort,” Locsin said.

“There is also no one-year deadline on the brilliant oil and gas MOU. I wrote and China and PH signed,” he added. PNA