Jul 15, 2021 @ 12:19

Mind your words, Hilbay: Carpio explains why he backed joint oil exploration with China

It’s mostly an issue of terminology that got Antonio Carpio and Florin Hilbay in a word war over sovereignty and the West Philippine Sea.

The saga continued as the retired Supreme Court senior associate responded to the former Solicitor General after accusing him of backing a lopsided deal for a “joint development” with China on these waters, saying he found the agreement “unacceptable” and could not understand why sitting Philippine officials could ever support such a concept.

Carpio set the record straight in his July 15 Inquirer column.

“‘Cooperation arrangement’ is a Philippine concept that the Philippines has the sovereign rights to the oil and gas. ‘Joint development’ is a Chinese concept that China has the sovereign rights to the oil and gas,” the law of the sea expert said. “The MOU is a cooperation arrangement, not a joint development. Every Filipino must know the difference between these two opposing concepts.”

In spirit, Carpio is actually on Hilbay’s side in rejecting China’s proposed “joint development” as it was indeed unfair, as it carried provisions setting aside “dispute” and accepting that sovereignty over the area belongs to China.

“To accept China’s offer is to concede sovereign rights to China over the overlapping maritime areas,” Carpio said, which was why he backed an entirely different concept of cooperation agreement.

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