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Barbers asks PH to stand ground vs Chinese presence in WPS

May 1, 2021 Ryan Ponce Pacpaco 268 views

THE chairman of the House committee on dangerous drugs on Saturday branded as a breach of the country’s sovereignty and economic sabotage by a foreign intruder the continued incursions of Chinese vessels in the West Philippine Sea.

“Why would hundreds of ships converge in one spot for months if there is no economic gain for them? I am sure that there is something of high value underneath that they are very much interested in. Something that is very valuable to them and to us. Their continued presence there indicate that they are stealing from us these valuable resources,” Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers, panel chairman, said.

“If these resources will bring us economic recovery then we should exploit, protect and keep it for our exclusive use because it is as precious as our independence as it will free the people from the bondage of poverty and could be the solution to the economic quagmire we are presently in,” Barbers pointed out.

Barbers hinted that EO 130 may be used for the mineral reserves in the area to be subject to joint exploration with foreign companies that have the expertise to explore and extract them, very much like the Malampaya project where the government allowed Shell to extract the natural gas which is refined and used by us in so many applications including electricity on top of royalties and taxes that we derive from the project.

He also said that it is not right to allow the Chinese to exploit the area while we do nothing and just watch them extract everything for their own use.

“We should go there, make our presence felt, declare our intentions and explore it too for our own use. If they refuse to leave, then we should conduct our own economic activities there and stand our ground. Their presence should not deter us from doing what we need to do in an area which the international community recognizes as our exclusive economic zone” Barbers explained.

“This is the best way to assert our claim. Let us mine whatever is there that we can mine for our benefit. If the international community has given us that sovereign right over the area, then we can start putting the newly signed Executive Order 130 to good use and engage entities with expertise to extract valuable resources there. We can open negotiations with reputable Chinese as well as European and American companies engaged in gas, oil and other mineral explorations, within the bounds of our Constitution,” Barbers stressed.