MANILA—President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday said he is open to lifting the moratorium on joint exploration in the West Philippine Sea, as long as the highest interest of the country is served.
"Hindi ko basta-basta (i-lift) iyan until such time that we would have reached that level where the highest interest of the country, and that is my Republic of the Philippines, will be served," Duterte told reporters in a chance interview in Taguig City.
The president said he is open to a joint oil exploration with China, but he acknowledged there are also other claimants in the West Philippine Sea.
He, however, said quarrying of black sand has to stop.
The Energy Department earlier expressed its support for lifting the moratorium on oil exploration in the said waters.