The Philippine government will continue to talk and negotiate with Beijing regarding the two parties’ claims and concerns on the Malampaya natural gas fields to avert future conflicts, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said.
“The only way to resolve the issues that are outstanding is to once again keep talking and to come to a consensus to come to an agreement and to continue to negotiate. It is not an easy process but the Malampaya fields, natural gas fields that lie in our, within our baselines and within our exclusive economic zone and that again is being questioned in certain cases, in certain areas by China and we continue to negotiate with them,” President Marcos said during an event at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C.
“We continue to find a way — the essential problem, the essential roadblock to that whole process has been very simple,” the chief executive added.
The President said the Chinese government has been claiming particular areas where the Malampaya fields are located but are already recognized by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) as part of the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines.
“The nine dash line covers just about the entire West Philippine Sea. We, on the other hand, have established our baselines which have been recognized and accredited by UNCLOS and therefore there is that conflict and so what happens now especially when it comes to exploration in — for energy — for our energy needs are which law will apply because we say this is part of Philippine territory and therefore Philippine law should apply,” President Marcos said.
However, the President pointed out that both parties are “slowly inching towards a resolution” regarding their claims on the Malampaya fields.
“It may have to come down to a compromise that will just limit that application, the application of laws maybe to the vessels that are involved in this exploration and exploitation of whatever natural gas fields we can access,” President Marcos said.
The chief executive also noted that it is just one of the suggestions both parties are looking into to resolve the issue.
“There is no silver bullet where you say, we’ll do this and it’s done. As I said, we are inching slowly towards the resolution and that’s why we must be constant, we must be transparent and we must be accountable for all that we do. And I cannot see any other way to handle the problem other than that,” the President added.
The Malampaya gas field is a deepwater gas-condensate reservoir, located offshore, 65 kilometers northwest of the island of Palawan.
Catherine R. Cueto