Duterte admin must weigh Carpio’s proposals on West PHL Sea dispute — Sen. Cayetano

admin   •   March 23, 2017   •   3922

BANGKOK, Thailand — Senator Alan Peter Cayetano assured that President Rodrigo Duterte has no plans of giving up Philippine’s territory.

This has been the senator’s response to Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio’s pronouncement that the President should never make statements that seem to hint that the Philippines is surrendering its sovereignty over its rightful territories in the West Philippine Sea.

Sen. Cayetano said, “Let me just assure Justice Carpio and all Filipinos watching over the West Philippine issue that, the President is doing everything he can and he will not give up even a single square inch.”

The senator said he recognizes the contribution of Carpio in defending the rights of the country over its territory in the West Philippine Sea.

However, he also noted that the strategies or option recommended by the Supreme Court justice, such as the filing of a diplomatic protest against China; sending of navy patrols to Scarborough shoal; asking the United States to help declare the area as territory of the Philippines; and accepting US’ offer of a joint naval patrol in South China Sea, may not be appropriate for the current situation and administration anymore.

“We need Justice Carpio to guide, to ask hard questions but if you look at the five steps that he wants, some of them are purely legal, some are purely diplomatic, but some are a matter of strategy and geopolitics that the administration has to weigh at this period in time,” said Cayetano.

“What could have been valid during the last 6 years… iba yung first five, iba yung last two minutes, (the first five is different; the last two minutes are different).”

Meanwhile, acting Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo said the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has yet to determine the action it will take on the reported plan of China to build structures on one of the disputed territories in the South China Sea, the Scarborough or Panatag Shoal.

Manalo said no further action will be taken pending China’s response to the Philippine government’s request for a clarification on the matter.

“Justice Carpio has been very involved in this issue. I think he is very knowledgeable, and he has proposed certain options, but those options would only swing in under certain conditions as of now. That’s why it’s really very difficult to comment on them and all we can really do is to wait for China’s clarifications on the reported plan,” he said.

Meanwhile, Cayetano commented on rumors that he will be the next DFA secretary and explained his reasons for talking about the Philippines’ foreign affairs.
The senator said, his being in the Legislative branch allows him more freedom to talk than officials under the Executive branch.

He stressed that his talking has nothing to do with him being the next DFA secretary.

“When it comes sa mga press con, mas nakakapagsalita talaga yung outside the DFA because sa DFA each and every word na sabihin niya, ini-iscrutinize ng lahat diplomats around the world. So kahit sino, kahit ako or ibang mga tao ang malagay sa DFA, limited din talaga ang pwedeng sabihin (When it comes to press cons, those outside the DFA can talk more because when you’re with DFA, every word is scrutinized by diplomats around the world. So anybody, even me, once assigned to the DFA will be limited on what they are allowed to say),” explained Cayetano.
Currently, Cayetano is the chairperson of the Senate committee on foreign relations.

He also said he is preparing for whatever lies ahead, adding that he’s leaving the decision to the President on whether or not to appoint him as the next DFA secretary. — Rosalie Coz | UNTV News and Rescue

Duterte lifts moratorium on oil exploration in West Philippine Sea

Marje Pelayo   •   October 16, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has lifted the moratorium or the suspension of oil exploration in the West Philippine Sea upon the recommendation of the Department of Energy (DOE).

Following the lifting of moratorium, the DOE will resume issuance of work notice to authorized service contractors within the area covered by the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

According to Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, the resumption of oil exploration in the area will provide the Philippines additional source of oil fuel to ensure energy security in the country.

One expected benefit is the increase in natural gas reserve of the Malampaya Power Plant.

“It gives hope to the Filipino people that eventually, we will have that energy independence and energy security and a more affordable energy,” Cusi said.

The agency hopes such development will generate more jobs during the pandemic especially to residents near the disputed territories through the entry of foreign investors.

The DOE expressed confidence that the said decision will not affect the relationship between the Philippines in China despite the signed memorandum of understanding for oil and gas development cooperation in the disputed territories.

“It’s done in good faith because alam naman natin na meron tayong MOU na pinirmahan [because we know that we have an existing MOU signed] together with China saying it was in good faith,” Cusi explained.

“Because it does not affect that MOU, it does not stop the joint development activities that we might arrive at with China,” he added.

The oil exploration in West Philippines Sea was halted in 2015 due to the increasing tension among claimant states in the disputed territories. MNP (with reports from Joan Nano)

AFP to beef up monitoring amid ‘volatile’ situation in West Philippine Sea

Robie de Guzman   •   October 14, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will intensify its monitoring in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) amid “volatile and uncertain” situation there.

AFP chief of staff General Gilbert Gapay said they will deploy a Japanese-made radar at the the Matinloc gas platform in Malampaya, Palawan which is near the WPS.

“You see, we [decided that] the Matinloc platform [will] be assigned one of the radars coming from Japan to beef up our monitoring capability in the West Philippine Sea,” he said.

Gapay said they are also eyeing to partner with Japan to develop the military’s cyber defense and security capabilities as well as improve its unmanned aerial systems.

“I think we can partner with Japan in this area, cyber-defense and security which is also one of their thrusts of the Japan Self Defense Force,” he said.

The Matinloc gas platform situated in northwest Palawan has ceased operations last year and is being eyed to be converted into floating monitoring stations for the Philippine Navy due to its strategic location.

Gapay said the situation in the West Philippine Sea remains “very tense” due to the “aggressive actions” of China as well as the activities of the United States.

The AFP chief said China has been conducting its own unilateral exercises in the area while the US has been displaying a show of force as it advocates freedom of navigation.

China has been claiming almost all of the South China Sea despite having no legal basis.

The Philippines, Brunei, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Taiwan as well have claims in the disputed seas. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Lea Ylagan)

DND assures Philippine sovereignty even with Chinese companies in gov’t projects

Marje Pelayo   •   September 10, 2020

MANILA, Philippines— Cagayan de Oro Representative Rufus Rodriguez expressed concern that allowing the third telecommunication company, Dito Telecommunity Corporation, to construct cell sites in military camps would threaten national security.

Rodriguez noted that the firm is 40 percent owned by the Chinese.

“Can you imagine there will be Chinese allegedly employees of Dito who may be spies for China – where we have a conflict especially in the West Philippine Sea – entering our camps and being able to secure installations which should not be known by outside forces?” he said.

But Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said that Dito will only be allowed to construct cell sites within existing ones.

“Most camps actually in the Philippines already have cell towers of Globe and Smart,” Lorenzana explained.

“The contract for the Memorandum of Agreement that I signed or approved between the (the Armed Forces of the Philippines) and Dito is that, it will just be limited to those camps as well,” he added.

Rodriguez also opposed the Philippine government’s accommodation of Chinese contractors for the Sangley Airport project, the same Chinese contractors involved in the contractions of structures in the West Philippine Sea.

“The advice that we can give maybe to the President is to properly screen these companies before they can conduct business here.” Lorenzana noted.

“As I said a while ago, the President had already decided that they can continue their project here so all we can do now is to be very, very sure that their entering into our territory will not endanger our sovereignty,” he added.

Lorenzana also reminded that if the contract gets canceled, the Philippine government will be fined with a huge amount. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

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