MANILA, Aug. 15 — The House of Representatives’ foreign affairs committee on Tuesday went into an executive session to discuss the possibility of conducting a joint exploration with China in the South China Sea.
During the House hearing, Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano called for a closed-door session over the government’s plan to enter into a joint venture and development project with China in the heavily-disputed waters of the South China Sea.
“We will answer during the executive session the possibility of joint exploration and development,” Cayetano said.
Cayetano assured that the administration will pursue a joint exploration deal that would be legal and constitutional.
“I will assure you, any legal framework will conform with local laws and the Constitution,” Cayetano said.
Cayetano also said the joint exploration deal would be more beneficial for the country than that of Malampaya project.
He earlier cited the Malampaya project as an example of how the Philippine Constitution allowed the exploration of natural resources despite the cooperation with some foreign corporation or foreign entities.
The USD4.5-billion Malampaya gas-to-power project is a joint undertaking of the Philippine national government and the private sector.
It was spearheaded by the Department of Energy and developed and operated by Shell Philippines Exploration B.V. on behalf of joint venture partners Chevron Malampaya LLC and the PNOC Exploration Corporation. (PNA)