MANILAA Philippine-crafted draft framework on the joint exploration in South China Sea (West Philippine Sea) is now shaping up ahead of the visit of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said.
"I still have the whole day (on Tuesday) para tapusin (to finish it), but I can say it's looking good from legal, moral, from point of view of protecting territorial rights and economic rights, it's looking good, the agreement on joint exploration," Cayetano told reporters, three days before he exits as DFA chief.
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 October 29 during the latter's official visit to Manila.
Wang's slated trip is focused on continuing talks on exploration in the contested waters which 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 3-7 years to put up these oil rigs, one that is full production. So the time to do it is now," Cayetano said in a separate interview.
Meanwhile, he assured that any deal will not affect Manila's rights and claims in the region.
"We're still targeting na makasama ito sa pipirmahan sa (to have this signed during the) state visit," he added, referring to the upcoming trip of President Xi Jinping to the Philippines in November. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency