We are trying to rush framework on joint exploration with China: Cayetano

Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano on October 5 said they are trying to rush the framework on joint gas exploration in the West Philippine Sea with China.

“So that if it’s acceptable to both sides, even an agreement of principle with the DFA and the MoFA (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) of China will be a giant step forward,” Cayetano said.

“Part of the framework will be a commercial agreement between our commercial entity and China’s commercial entity,” he added.

“I’m working hard and [am] very bullish that we do it in the next few months, so that the exploration can actually start next year. A three month delay in coming with an agreement is not equivalent to a three month delay in exploration because there are conditions at sea that to be taken into account,” Cayetano said.

He explained that “a three month, for example, delay could be a six month or nine month delay, and the President’s orders to us is that in anything that we do, no corruption, benefit the people, but make sure we enjoy the fruits during my term.”

He added that they are cautious and enthusiastic. “Enthusiastic because it seems that we all agree that it will benefit our region, benefit Philippines, benefit China. We all agree that there can be and there is a framework which will be constitutional under Philippine laws and acceptable under Chinese laws,” he said.

“Cautious because it’s a delicate matter. It has to pass the scrutiny of Congress and the Judiciary,” he added.

Sources: http://cnnphilippines.com/news/2018/10/06/Alan-Peter-Cayetano-joint-exploration-framework-West-Philippine-Sea.html; http://cnnphilippines.com/news/2018/10/06/Alan-Peter-Cayetano-joint-exploration-framework-West-Philippine-Sea.html