Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said Palawan should continue its push to claim a portion of natural wealth proceeds from offshore oil and gas explorations, including Malampaya despite the definitive ruling of the Supreme Court denying the province’s claim.
Holding a press conference at the provincial capitol Thursday, Roque, who was private counsel for the provincial government on Palawan’s Supreme Court case, said the high tribunal has yet to rule on their motion for reconsideration on the decision handed down in June 2019.
“Kung talagang ma-resolve na yon at the Korte Suprema and it will not change its decision, regrettably that’s a mistake,” Roque said. He explained that the present decision of the high court ignored their argument about the continental shelf of Malampaya being part of Palawan.
“Nakapagtataka na mayroong isang area na hindi kabahagi ng isang local government. Sino ang mag-e-exercise ng jurisdiction doon? Sino ang pulis na pupunta doon? Sinong hukuman ang aakto doon?” he said.
Roque also proposed a “faster way” to resolve the issue, which is by asking Congress to pass a law that will define the boundaries of provinces.
“Ang mas mabilis na ruta, kung ang Kongreso mismo ang magbibigay ng definition na bukod sa Presidential Decree issued by Marcos na nag-a-append ng munisipyo ng Kalayaan sa Pilipinas at ang continental shelf, ay sundin kung ano ang sinabi ng Korte Suprema — metes and bounds (ng probinsya ng Palawan) at isama natin ang mga lugar na may reserba ng oil and gas,” he said.
He noted that the administration is expecting to begin a joint energy exploration at the Reed Bank in the West Philippine Sea, an area believed to be bigger than the Malampaya field, which he said should be considered part of Palawan.
“Matutuloy ang joint exploration sa Recto Bank at dapat malaman natin kung sino talaga ang dapat na local government na makinabang doon,” he said.