PH to continue oil exploration in Reed Bank

By Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 19 2012 12:01 PM | Updated as of Mar 19 2012 11:41 PM

BAGUIO CITY - The Philippines will continue its plan to explore oil and gas in the Reed Bank or Recto Bank despite Taiwan’s protests.

President Benigno Aquino III said oil exploration in the area already started even before he assumed office. He insisted that Recto Bank is part of Philippine territory.

“So ‘yung area of dispute in Spratlys which we call our portion the Kalayaan Island Group… Recto is not part of that. Recto became a point of controversy only after 2009's publication of the nine-dash theory [of China],” Aquino told reporters in an interview at The Mansion before heading back to Manila. He was here on Sunday after attending the Philippine Military Academy graduation.

Meantime, Aquino maintained that force should not be used in settling territorial disputes, saying nobody benefits from such a solution.

“I don’t think force will resolve anything. ‘Yung violence will just beget more violence somewhere down the line… It's a very temporary solution,” he said.

“Our position has always been that our growth is inclusive, and inclusive also deals with our neighbors. We trade with them, they trade with us. Our growth enhances our people's standard of living, it enhances theirs also,” he said.

“If we are able to have increasing standards of living for both, then that is the guarantee for peace and stability, which is our position from the very beginning,” he added.