Wednesday, March 30, 2005

NR0328:DoE signs more contracts for oil exploration

Mula sa Tanggapan ni Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran
News Release March 28, 2005
House of Representatives, South Wing Rm 602
931-6615 Ina Alleco R. Silverio, Chief of Staff
Cellphone number 09213907362

Rep. Beltran decries Energy Department's tact to sign more contracts with foreign investors for oil drilling and explorations

Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran today said that there is certain to be increased militarization in the provinces and the operations will be directed against civilians and their communities given recent reports that the Department of Energy is set to sign seven more service contracts for oil and gas exploration this year.

According to Energy Secretary Guillermo Balce, the DoE has already signed eight service contracts since the Supreme Court ruled that the Mining Law is constitutional. Oil and gas explorations in Mindoro are set to begin, while early this month, the DoE signed contract withs Phil-Mal (RP and Malaysia) Petroenergy Corp for oil and gas exploration in Southern Cebu and the AustralAsian consortium of Ottoman Energy Ltd; AustralianAsian Energy Ltd and RGA Resources in the Northwest Palawan.

"Residents and communities are already up in arms against the mining corporations, and thousands are being displaced because of these operations. These contracts signed and up for signing by the DoE will ensure that there will be greater dislocation of civilians from their homes," he said. "The military, as usual, will be among the main implementers of the contracts - the DoE, the local government units and the national government will be sanctioning the deployment of AFP troops to areas where there will be oil drilling and explorations. Violations of civil and human rights will be inevitable," he said.

"It's insane the way the government says it is helpless in keeping oil prices low, but at the same time allows foreign investors to gain access and control over oil and mineral deposits in the country."

Beltran said that the Supreme Court itself violated the Constitution when it declared the Mining Act c onstitutional. He cited Article II, Section 19 of the Constitution which state sthat rovides that "The State shall develop a self-reliant and independent national economy effectively controlled by Filipinos;" and Article XII, Section 2 of the Constitution mandates that "The exploration, development, and utilization of natural resources shall be under the full control and supervision of the State."

"But here we are, witnessing the entry of foreign investors in the oil and mining industries and they're calling the shots regarding the country's resources. The energy industry is a vital part of the Philippine economy, and its control is a matter of national security and survival. Given the oil crisis in the country, all oil resources should be centralized and controlled by the Philippine government, and then sold for public consumption at low prices - not taken over by foreign corprations," he said.

Beltran said that the continued exploration of the country's oil and gas reserves with an objective of giving priority to foreign private investors foster a Philippine economy hostage to foreign interests. "The foreign consortia's continued drilling operations and oil exploration commit the Philippines to an irreversible move away from effective Filipino control of the national economy, in violation of Article II, Section 19 and rendering it a useless exhortation incapable of realization," he said.

"These drilling and explorations endanger the country's remaining and untapped oil and gas reserves which will be at the mercy of foreign private corporations that will extract the greatest amount of profits instead of alleviating the national economy and lessen the effects of the continued price increases of petroleum products," he said.#


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