Imee: Engage, don’t fight China

Senator Imee Marcos on Friday expressed her support for the revival of discussions on joint oil and gas exploration between the Philippines and China in the West Philippine Sea.

Marcos, chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, underscored the importance of keeping the door open to China in discussions on resource-rich WPS, being claimed wholly by Beijing.

“Yes, I think it is important for us to engage (with) China in every way. We do not have anything against them; why are we fighting against them?” she said in a media briefing at Kamuning Bakery Cafe in Quezon City.

“At all times we should be engaging each other, at all times we should be talking whether it is on the formal, government-to-government, bilateral, multilateral talks or the more friendly people-to-people exchange,” she added.

On Thursday, Senator Robin Padilla said that China is still open to exploration talks at WPS or the South China Sea, as per Chinese Ambassador Huang Xillian’s statement during his recent visit to the Senate.

In June, a week before he stepped down from office, former President Rodrigo Duterte ordered then Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. to terminate the discussion on joint exploration with China.

“Three years on and we have not achieved our objective of developing oil and gas resources so critical for the Philippines but not at the price of sovereignty; not even a particle of it,” Duterte said then.


Despite being open to discussion with China on joint exploration in the WPS, Senator Marcos said it should be studied thoroughly, including the sharing scheme.

The DFA has said that the agreement was deleterious to the interest of the Philippines.

“But we will not allow that it will be disadvantageous for us. Of course, we will talk to them seriously to make it fairer,” she added.

To recall, the Duterte administration earlier announced that it will pursue a 60-40 sharing scheme, which means Manila will receive 60 percent of the oil and natural gas deposits while Beijing will get the remaining 40 percent.

Meanwhile, the DFA maintained that the country is open to discussing joint exploration in the WPS as long as it will not violate the Philippine Constitution.

“As conveyed by Secretary (Enrique) Manalo to Chinese SCFM (State Councilor and Foreign Minister) Wang Yi when they met in July, the Philippines is open to discussing joint exploration of energy resources in the West Philippine Sea,” DFA spokesperson Tess Daza told Daily Tribune.

“Such talks must be anchored on the Philippine Constitution and conducted within the framework of overall bilateral relations,” Daza added.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *