The Philippines and China is in talks for possible partnerships for oil and gas exploration this year.
“We are now in the stage of finalizing the terms of reference to implement the MOU (memorandum of understanding) so when that’s done, when that’s ready, the announcement will be made,” Philippine Ambassador to China Jose Santiago Sta. Romana told Manila Bulletin reporters.
Sta. Romana added that the terms of agreement could be finalized this year.
He said the planned oil exploration deal with China was included in the recent bilateral consultation mechanism regarding the management of the South China Sea issue.
“There are stages that we have to go through but it is moving forward. It was one of the topics in the BCM,” he was quoted in a Manila Bulletin report.
Last November, the Philippines and China signed a “Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation on Oil and Gas Development” during the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The two governments agreed “to negotiate on an accelerated basis arrangements to facilitate oil and gas exploration and exploitation in relevant maritime areas consistent with applicable rules of international law,” as stated on the deal.
There will be an intergovernmental joint steering committee to negotiate the terms for the said oil and gas exploration.
Concerns arise due to the controversial oil exploration proposal with China as there’s still an issue with the South China Sea.
Malacañang said the deal would be constitutional and beneficial to the nation.