Gov't urged : Create own map to affirm West Philippine Sea claim

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 31 2021 10:33 AM | Updated as of May 31 2021 10:55 AM

Gov't urged : Create own map to affirm West Philippine Sea claim 1
Members of the Philippine Coast Guard participate during a training on navigation, small boat operations, maintenance, and logistical operations in the West Philippine Sea in Palawan on April 24, 2021. Photo courtesy of the Philippine Coast Guard

MANILA - The Philippines should conduct oil exploration in its maritime waters and create its own map staking its claim in the West Philippine Sea following increased Chinese incursions, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said Monday.

Government can partner with other countries and private firms, Sotto said. The country and its partner should have 60-40 sharing agreement, he earlier said.

"Why don’t we start exploration already in these contested areas that we know are ours? If we cannot do it alone, we can have other countries or private companies that are interested. Even China itself," he told ANC's Headstart.

The Senate President added that he read an article, authored by Melissa Loja and Romel Bagares, proposing that the Philippines make its own map like the one China has been presenting. 

"Why don’t we make our own map? Make our own 9-dash line. I think that’s a very good suggestion. Let's insist on our own and God forbid they cross the line, the Mutual Defense Treaty will kick in. I think it’s just a matter of setting our foot down," he said.

"I think these are plausible. I'm toying with the idea of filing a bill... lilinawin doon ang ating mga pag-aari (It will make clear which areas are our territories)."

China has refused to recognize a 2016 arbitral ruling that favored the Philippines, invalidating its vast claims in the disputed South China Sea.

The President had forged friendlier relations with China upon assuming his post in 2016, setting aside the landmark arbitral award in favor of economic aid and investments.

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