By Herman Laurel
On June 21, 2022, the immensity of the fuel and energy crisis again facing the Philippines n at this critical time was highlighted by news that 26,000 provincial bus drivers have already lost their jobs due to the continuing surges of double fuel price increases.
A week later, DFA Secretary Teodoro Locsin announced that the Philippines has terminated the 60/40 Oil-Gas exploration deal with China that was in favor of the Philippines. This is a a great shock to a nation that had relied on the exploration deal to achieve some energy security of the country.
Locsin argues that “another step forward would have risked a ‘constitutional crisis.’” This is pure hogwash! Our in-house Phil-BRICS legal adviser, Atty. Rafael Tuvera, says, “… walang violation basta 60/40 sharing… Locsin is consumed by Sinophobia.”
People forget that it was the Philippines who had proposed the joint deal to China as announced by Jose de Venecia, President Duterte’s special envoy, at a Belt and Road Forum hosted by President Xi Jinping in Beijing in 2017. Just last March 8, 2022, President Duterte himself reiterated the call for the country to “honor its commitment” to the deal.
Yet three months later, Locsin has loudly announced the termination of the deal. Abortion of the exploration deal is reminiscent of the Joint Marine Seismic Undertaking (JMSU) agreement amongst the Philippines, China and Vietnam that was also cancelled in 2007 due to flimsy senate allegations of the “secrecy” of its operations by the usual “Amboy” senators led by Sen. Franklin Drilon.
The aborted deal is also reminiscent of the closure of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) that had been built to ensure energy security for the country but was mothballed in 1988 by American marionette Corazon Aquino who then condemned the Philippines to two generations of privatized power shortage, exorbitant rates, de-industrialization and perpetual energy insecurity.
Based on the award of the UN Panel of Arbitration in 1986, the Locsin argument of “constitutional crisis” has no anchor. In 1986, the UN Spokesman declared that “… the UN doesn’t have a position on the legal and procedural merits of the case or on the disputed claims…” Simply stated, the International Court of Justice ex-judge said the arbitration panel is not a primary agency of the UN.
The arbitration exercise was conducted by the Americans to entrap the Philippines into a “lawfare” with China. The arbitration hoax and entrapment has succeeded to punish the Philippines in spectacular fashion, especially in this time of crisis when China continues its growth path while the Philippines suffers energy and economic catastrophe due to energy instability and its total dependency on international forces over which it has no control.
The reality of sabotage of the Philippines’ economic situation is stark and naked. Let us continue to expose the machinations of the Philex/Forum/Salim/US group, the powers behind Locsin and company who first offered the Reed Bank (Recto Bank) deal to China in 2014, When spurned, these powers then pressured DFA Secretary Albert del Rosario towards the path of arbitration lawfare. We support the new PBBM government to repudiate this arbitration hoax and free our foreign policy to save the Philippines and its economic future.