Malacañang on Tuesday, February 6, announced President Rodrigo Roa Duterte had directed to limit the scientific research in the Philippine Rise to Filipino-owned entities.
The President gave the directive during the 22nd Cabinet meeting on Monday, February 5, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said in a Palace press briefing.
“I confirm that the President ordered that henceforth, only Filipinos will be allowed to conduct scientific research… and explore and exploit natural resources in the Philippine Rise,” Roque said.
“No particular reason was given other than it’s [indisputably] subject to our sovereign rights… Where there’s a dispute, then let us explore joint explorations, joint scientific researches. But where there is no dispute, then for now, let’s limit it to Filipinos,” he added.
The Cabinet official said President Duterte ordered the revocation of all existing foreign licenses for scientific research in the Philippine territory.
Around 30 licenses were previously granted to foreign entities coming from China, the United States, Japan, Korea, and Germany. Roque said their activities in the area had already been concluded with their licenses revoked, as confirmed by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
On the other hand, Roque clarified that foreign entities who wish to conduct scientific research in the Philippine Rise could still do so, but they would now have to get the personal approval of the country’s National Security Adviser (NSA).
“[A]lthough all scientific research permits are deemed cancelled, any new application, in addition to an application to be filed with the interagency technical working group [of the DFA], will have to make a separate application with the office of the National Security Adviser,” he said.
“It’s not really a ban… it’s just a directive that we want Filipinos to do it as much as possible; that we are reserving it for Filipinos,” Roque added.
Pres. Duterte warns: Don’t impede 3rd telco operation
During the same Cabinet meeting, President Duterte reminded companies against impeding the operations of a third telecoms player in the country, Secretary Roque announced.
“The President was emphatic and issued a warning to the detractors of the entry of the third telecoms player not to test the will of government,” Roque said.
He said the President was particularly displeased with the proposal for government to buy back frequencies for the third telecoms player. These frequencies, Roque stressed, were given out by the government for free.
“The President… was displeased with the fact that frequency… which apparently was given for free, would have to be bought back by government… He warned everyone involved not to test the resolve of the President in allowing a third telecoms carrier to enter the country,” Roque said.
The Spokesperson added that the Palace was sticking with its original time frame for finding the third telecoms player by March of this year.
Palace announces 538% surge in PH investment
Meanwhile, Malacañang also assured the public that business and investor confidence in the Duterte administration continued to be strong.
Citing a recent report by the Board of Investments (BOI), Secretary Roque noted that investments last month experienced a 538-percent surge compared to the same period of last year.
The BOI report showed that investments in the country reached P51.3 Billion, an increase of more than six-fold from last year’s P8-billion January figures.
“With economic momentum on our side, we expect to achieve our year-end target of P680 billion,” Roque stressed. ### PCO-Content