Malampaya gas-to-power project (File photo courtesy of Philippine News Agency)

The Department of Energy (DOE) ordered the lifting of the moratorium on oil and gas activities in the West Philippine Sea (WPS), resuming all programmed work and financial plans in the area.

Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi, in a statement issued on Friday, said the three new petroleum service contracts (PSCs) located in the WPS were endorsed to the Office of the President (OP), obliging the service contractors to comply with the approved work commitments.

“These activities are concrete and explicit forms of the enforcement of sovereign rights consistent with our real gains in the South China Sea Arbitral Award. Under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, petroleum licensing is the most important sovereign right of a coastal state like the Philippines,” read the statement.

The indicated service contracts were all in the exploration stage, which include study and understanding of the geological and geophysical characteristics of the area, as well as the conduct of on-site survey and drilling activities.

The DOE also urged the public to support the government’s efforts to exercise its sovereign rights in the WPS consistent with the Arbitral Award.

“Currently, all Service Contractors are conducting activities in compliance with their commitments, and are well within the approved timeframe. Resumption of work is well underway and not only in paper,” the statement added.

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is a desk editor and senior reporter of Palawan News. He covers politics, environment, tourism, justice, and sports. In his free time, he enjoys long walks with his dog, Bayani.