Philex can explore in Recto Bank despite Taiwan protest - Palace
MANILA, Philippines - Despite recent protests from Taiwan, Malacanang asserted its "undisputed" claim on Recto Bank where Pangilinan-led unit of Philex Mining Corp. is currently conducting exploration activities.
During a Malacanang press briefing on Tuesday, March 13, Deputy Spokesperson Abigail Valte stressed that Recto Bank, also known as Reed Bank, is not part of the disputed area in the South China Sea and has always been in the territorial jurisdiction of the Philippines.
Asked about Taiwan's protests over the Philippines' plan to explore oil and gas in Recto Bank, Valte said, "Well, we maintain that Recto Bank is within the territorial jurisdiction and is undisputed."
In 2010, the Philippine government granted Service Contract No. 72 (SC-72) to Forum Energy Corp, a unit of Philex Petroleum, which is in turn the oil and gas arm of Philex Mining Corp.
The SC-72 is the Philippine government's way of asserting its sovereign right over the area, which, according to a United Nations accord, is part of the Philippine territory.
China has previously protested the granting of SC-72. Chinese vessels have launched several attacks in the area in 2011, prompting the governments of the 2 countries to engage in high-level geopolitical negotiations.
At least 6 countries, including the Philippines and China, are claiming the supposedly oil-rich Spratlys area, which is near Reed Bank.
Manuel V. Pangilinan, chairman of Philex, has previously said that the Philippine government's claim on the area is strong.
"I'd like to think the Recto Bank is part of the Philippine territory, which is consistent with the Philippine Government's position," he told reporters during a corporate event on February 6.
He said they are scheduled to drill 2 wells this 2012 based on the work program they have previously submitted to the government.
"If the environment permits, meaning our ships and rigs are allowed to come in, then we will drill…We're committed to a work program with the government, so we really need to do it," he said. - Rappler.com
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