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‘Leni divorced from reality’

According to Panelo, the Vice President is entitled to her own opinion.

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Robredo: Sovereignty before exploration

Vice President Leni Robredo is “divorced from reality.”

Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo made the comment Monday in response to Robredo’s earlier remark that China should recognize first the sovereignty of Philippines in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) before the two countries proceed with their joint oil exploration.

Panelo also said he is confused of Robredo’s statements.

“Sometimes VP Leni is divorced from reality when she makes statements. Like on the war on drugs she said it was a failure but she clarified today thats not what she meant. I don’t know what she wants to say,” Panelo said.

Panelo said even if China is not recognizing the country’s sovereignity in relation to the WPS, the government will proceed with the joint oil exploration.

“Well, in relation to the West Philippine Sea, we know that China is not recognizing our rights over there. In fact, they are saying that it’s theirs; but nevertheless, they’re open to negotiation. So, if it’s open then we will proceed provided the terms are to our favor,” he said.

According to Panelo, the Vice President is entitled to her own opinion on the matter but as far as President Rodrigo Duterte is concerned, government will move in respect to its foreign policy.

“The President—remember the President said that China is open to that and in fact would—or agreeable to the 70/30 or 60/40? 60/40 sharing,” Panelo said.

Earlier, National Security Adviser (NSA) Hermogenes Esperon said the 60-40 possible sharing of oil resources between the Philippines and China is fair for the country as the latter will be the ones to spend for the extraction and other things.

He said the percentage could even get higher depending on the results of the talks that will be conducted between the two countries.

Esperon added that with regards to the oil exploration with China, they don’t talk about territorial rights.

“Well, it was acceptable. That simply tells you that we have the upper hand on it. But we don’t talk here about territorial rights. We simply talked about it as a sharing that is just a fair for us and for the other side,” Esperon told reporters.

“Sixty/forty is a desirable sharing, but it is not final. It could even go up to 61 or more.”

Esperon said a joint steering committee with representatives from both the country and China was formed last week. The representatives are set to meet next week for the first round of talks of the joint oil exploration.

“I do not have the names now, but the Chairman would be the steering committee, would be Chaired by Foreign Affairs. The members are from the Department of Energy and as well as Department of Environment and Natural Resources,” Esperon said.

“We had it formed a week ago and in fact they are getting ready for the first round of talks within October. At the same time, that we will have close to the time that we will have our bilateral consultative mechanisms,’ he added.

Esperon said the 60/40 sharing could even change depending on what will happen on the talks.

“As I said, the steering committee will meet and there could be changes – that’s the general guideline that we have,” Esperon said.

“You will know after the talks,” he added.

As to where the exploration could take place, Esperon said they are looking at some areas where there is no licensee or awardee like in Palawan.

“It will be the PNOC (Philippine National Oil Company) that will participate,” Esperon said.

“Yes, west side of Palawan,” he said.

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