MANILA — Sharing resources in the West Philippine Sea with China is only “fair” as long as Manila gets the bigger cut, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon said Friday.
The 60-40 sharing agreement, in favor of the Philippines, gives the country an “upper hand” against China since the latter would be spending for the proposed joint oil exploration, Esperon explained.
“They’re (China) spending for it and we’re getting more. More than fair right?” Esperon told reporters.
“We simply talk of it as sharing that is just fair for us and for the other side,” he added, noting that Manila’s share could even go higher.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier welcomed the proposed 60-40 sharing of possible oil resources in the West Philippine Sea, the country’s exclusive economic zone in the South China Sea, which Beijing claims in its entirety.
A joint steering committee with representatives from both Manila and Beijing was formed last week and is scheduled to meet next week to discuss the joint oil exploration, Esperon said.
He, however, did not name the Philippines’ representatives.
Philippine Ambassador to China Chito Sta. Romana earlier said that Manila and Beijing energy ministries and concerned agencies would be part of the steering committee.
In November 2018, the Philippines and China signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for oil and gas exploration during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit to the Philippines.