Businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan (MVP) said the Marcos administration is “doing the right thing” in asserting the country’s sovereign rights over the West Philippine Sea.
“The president is doing an excellent job in asserting our rights over the disputed territory. That’s absolutely correct. The interest of the country should prevail. In this particular case, government is absolutely correct,” said Pangilinan when asked for comment on how the Marcos administration is handling the territorial and maritime disputes in the West Philippine Sea.
Moreover, Pangilinan said the alleged harassment of Filipinos within the Philippine waters is “not helping the relationship” between the two governments in so far as to how the dispute is being handled.
Pangilinan’s group has not resumed discussions with China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC) for a possible joint exploration of Service Contract (SC) no. 72 covering the disputed waters.
Forum Energy Ltd., in which Pangilinan’s PXP Energy holds a direct and an indirect interest of 79.13 percent, has a 70-percent participating interest in SC 72, also in Northwest Palawan, through its wholly owned subsidiary Forum. PXP has a total economic interest of 54.36 percent in SC 72.
He said his group is not involved in any talks with the Chinese government. “No. we are not the government. That is being conducted at the government level. Our contact is commercial, CNOOC and we haven’t spoken to them for more than a year.” The Department of Energy (DOE) earlier granted force majeure to the work commitments involving SC 72 and SC 75 in the West Philippine Sea.
A force majeure event entitles the contractors to be excused from the performance of their respective obligations, as well as to the extension of the exploration period under the service contracts.
The DOE considered the concerns raised by PXP Energy and Forum following the suspension of exploration activities under SC 75 and SC 72.