Sen. Panfilo “Ping” M. Lacson is open to the Philippines entering a joint venture agreement with China to develop the West Philippine Sea – but so long as China follows the 60-40 provision in the Philippine Constitution.
Lacson, speaking at a presidential forum Saturday evening, said this would show that the Philippines owns and has sovereign rights over the area.
“As long as they adhere to the Constitutional provision of 60-40, I am all for it. If it’s 60-40 it shows we ‘own,’ we have sovereign rights over the area,” he said at the forum organized by the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines, Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Cignal TV and The Manila Times.
Related: Ping: Joint Venture sa WPS Kasama ang China, Dapat Sundin ang Ating Konstitusyon
“If they would adhere to 60-40, I’m all for it. If not we should go back and review our security situation,” he added.
Under Sec. 2, Art. XII of the 1987 Constitution, the State “may enter into co-production, joint venture, or production-sharing agreements with Filipino citizens, or corporations or associations at least sixty per centum of whose capital is owned by such citizens.”
Lacson cited information indicating the West Philippine Sea is rich in natural gas and oil that could help address our energy needs, and that China has sent geologists to the area as far back as 1968.
But he said that if China would not agree to the 60-40 rule, the Philippines can turn to its allies, especially those it has bilateral agreements with.
Countries like Australia and Japan and even the European Union have now shown more willingness to patrol the area as they have interests in making sure the area is open to maritime trade.
“We should seize the opportunity,” Lacson said.