'Not one centimeter': PH says to guard sovereignty under China deal


Posted at Nov 23 2018 09:23 AM | Updated as of Nov 23 2018 09:26 AM

Chinese President Xi Jinping waves to the media as he walks with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte before their one on one meeting at the Malacanang presidential palace in Manila, Philippines, November 20, 2018. Erik De Castro, Reuters

MANILA -- "Not one centimeter" of the Philippines' sovereignty will be compromised under a memorandum of understanding on oil and gas cooperation between Manila and Beijing, a Filipino official said Friday.

The MOU signed during Chinese President Xi Jinping's state visit this week merely calls for "cooperation" and is "not yet a contract," Energy Undersecretary Donato Marcos said.

Foreign Affairs Sec. Teodoro Locsin Jr. made the MOU public on Thursday and described it as an "agreement to agree."

"Hindi makokompromiso ang kahit isang sentimetro ng soberenya at karapatan ng mamamayang Pilipino," Marcos told DZMM.

(Not one centimeter of of the sovereignty and rights of the Filipino people will be compromised.)

"Babalangkasin pa po ang pinaka-framework nito. Wala pa pong spesipikong mga probisyon," he said.

(The framework has yet to be established. There are no specific provisions yet.)

President Rodrigo Duterte "will not allow" the Philippines to be on the losing end of the MOU, Marcos said, in response to a question. Government agencies collaborated for Manila's inputs to the agreement, he said.

The two countries will set up an inter-governmental joint steering committee that will be "responsible for negotiating and agreeing the cooperation arrangement and maritime areas to which it will apply," Locsin said Thursday.

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