Preserve territorial sovereignty: No to oil exploration with China
The National Youth Movement for the West Philippine Sea (NYMWPS) voices grave concern on and strong opposition to the government’s move to lift the moratorium on oil exploration in the country’s territorial waters, specifically the West Philippine Sea, a move that tends to favor Beijing over other potentially better joint exploration partners. More importantly, favoring joint development with Beijing would mean a waiver of our historic victory at The Hague Arbitral Tribunal in 2016 which invalidated China’s contrived “nine-dash line.”
The NYMWPS agrees with former solicitor general Florin Hilbay, one of the representatives in The Hague who secured our landmark win, that the Recto Bank, where much of the estimated 11 billion barrels of oil and 190 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves are believed to be found, is no longer a disputed area because of the Tribunal decision. An agreement with China for a joint exploration and development in the gas-rich West Philippine Sea is tantamount to the Philippines giving up its hard-fought territorial sovereignty and will invalidate the victory it had won resoundingly four years ago.
We see any deals with China as tolerating the bullying and disrespect of The Hague ruling with its massive island-building, land reclamation, and militarization in the West Philippine Sea. The NYMWPS believes that the Philippines must look after its own interest in dealing with China, highlighting Beijing’s known one-sided economic dealings with other Third World countries which has made China dominant and many countries overly dependent on it.
It would be in the best interest of the Philippines to set its sights beyond China, exploring the possibility of having local companies take care of the financial aspect of the exploration and hiring the best technical experts from the United Kingdom, the United States, and other countries in exploring and utilizing the vast resources of the West Philippine Sea.
DR. CELIA LAMKIN
Funder and Global Chair
National Youth Movement for the West Philippine Sea
[email protected], www.nymwps.net
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