MANILA, Philippines -The Philippines has endorsed the terms and conditions of a reference proposed by China for an agreement on the joint exploration for oil and then gas in the West Philippine Sea, in accordance with Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.
“I accepted China’s version of the Terms of Reference (TOR) as superior to our personal. Everything certainly going well,” Locsin posted to Twitter on Sunday.
Whenever retired diplomat and then former ambassador to Europe Victoria Bataclan asked to see the draft, Locsin turned down and said “it is not a draft. I agreed on it so it is final.”
Locsin did not really say whether the TOR is the equivalent to the “draft framework agreement” that Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV launched last November for the duration of the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping. Locsin has never acceptable nor denied the veracity of the document, but Malacañang defended its acceptance “for evaluation.”
The TOR launched by Trillanes contained a provision that every documents, data and then details on the matter remain confidential until both parties find out otherwise.
Locsin said the memorandum of understanding (MOU) that President Duterte and Xi signed last November only committed both of nations to use their greatest hard work to flesh out and about an agreement within a year.
“There is no one-year dead-line for particular project. Just best effort,” he said. “There is also no deadline on the brilliant oil and then gas MOU I wrote & China & PH signed. It is endless.”
Even Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio-one of the critics of the Duterte administration’s China policy-said last November that the MOU could help settle down the dispute in the West Philippine Sea.