Former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario said that the Marcos Administration should proceed with the country’s oil and gas exploration and development in the West Philippine Sea without waiting on the restarting of joint exploration talks with China.
In a Philippine Daily Inquirer report, Del Rosario said that political will is needed to enforce the country’s rights over the oil and gas in the WPS in order to benefit from the new energy sources, especially at this time of increasing energy prices.
The former Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) official said that the Philippines should continue to explore and develop the WPS “despite threats and harassment from China,” citing Malaysia and Indonesia that sent drilling ships in their respective waters which are also being contested by China.
The DFA earlier said that it is open to talks with China on the oil and gas exploration in the WPS, despite the previous administration terminating the first joint exploration due to constitutional restraints and sovereignty issues.
Del Rosario is hopeful to see the “political will” as the Marcos Administration would need to find new energy sources to support the country in the coming years and President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. “has to face China to do this.”
Earlier, Minister of the International Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China Liu Jianchao said it is willing to assist the Philippines to improve the country’s energy sector.