MANILA - The framework of the joint exploration deal between the Philippines and China might be agreed upon by September, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said Wednesday.
"No, the framework is only a draft until both parties agree to it. So what I’m saying is I’m hoping that we both agree to it on September then if we both agree, then the timing as to signing, how we implement, is a different matter," Cayetano told reporters at a global migration forum in Pasay.
"We are still on schedule. I am still hoping that we can get to sign something this September that will allow the exploration. Having said that, we are talking about the ocean so there are a lot of factors when you can actually implement, including the weather, including marine conditions."
Cayetano earlier assured that the framework will not go beyond the Philippine Constitution and follow as a standard the Malampaya 60-40 sharing of revenues for the Philippines.
Manila is now racing to tap oil resources in the disputed sea as the Malampaya natural gas field off Palawan can only supply gas up to 2029.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said there is no time frame yet for the forging of the deal but noted it was more appropriate if it will be finished before the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to the Philippines later this year.