A hilippine-crafted draft framework on the joint exploration of the South China Sea or West Philippine Sea is shaping up ahead of the visit of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said Tuesday.
“I still have the whole day [on Tuesday] to finish it, but I can say it’s looking good from the legal, moral point of view of protecting territorial rights and economic rights,” Cayetano told reporters.
“It’s looking good, the agreement on joint exploration.”
Cayetano is expected to resign and file his certificate of candidacy as representative of Taguig City on Wednesday.
Replacing Cayetano will be Permanent Representative to the United Nations Teodoro Locsin Jr., who will receive Wang on Oct. 29 during his official visit to Manila.
Wang’s trip will be focused on the continuing talks on exploration in the contested waters that are believed to be rich in oil and gas.
Manila is keen to pursue the venture to sustain power in the country as Malampaya, which supplies 40 percent of Luzon’s power, is set to close down in 2027 or 2028.
“It takes three to seven years to put up these oil rigs, so the time to do it is now,” Cayetano said in a separate interview.
Meanwhile, he said any deal would not affect Manila’s rights and claims in the region.
“We’re still targeting to have this signed during the state visit,” he said, referring to the coming trip of President Xi Jinping to the Philippines in November.