'We have to assert our rights': Senator bats for oil exploration in Recto Bank

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 06 2019 11:02 AM

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MANILA - The Philippines needs to assert its rights over its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the West Philippine Sea and explore oil and gas in the area, a senator said Tuesday.

"We have to keep on pushing in, saying: 'Look, this is part of our EEZ.' We need to harness oil and gas in that area because we need to be energy secured," Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said on ANC's Headstart on Tuesday.

A moratorium on oil exploration and drilling works in the Reed (Recto) Bank in 2014 has not been lifted, he said.

"This is a very sensitive issue. But in my view, we have to assert our rights over the EEZ to explore oil and gas in that area because we need it. We cannot rely on importation all the time and forever," he said.

He said the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Energy are managing the situation.

The chair of the Senate Committee on Energy also welcomed any country who is inclined to do a joint exploration with the Philippines.

"Let us welcome that because we don't have the technology, and the technology is very expensive," he said.

But he pointed out that it has to be within the Philippines' domestic laws and framework.

"We have to keep asserting our right over the EEZ especially when it comes to resources because we are a developing nation and we need food, and we need energy--and these are the things that are abundant in that exclusive economic zone," he said.

REDUCING GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS

Meanwhile, Gatchalian has also filed a resolution seeking an inquiry on the status of the country's greenhouse gas emissions and Nationally Determined Contribution.

"From 2017 until now, we want to know exactly where we are in terms of greenhouse gas emission. We found out that there is no inventory of greenhouse gas emissions and the last inventory was in 2002. Medyo matagal na siya," he said.

The country has a commitment to reduce at least 70 percent of its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 in compliance with the Paris Agreement.