MANILA MalacaAang maintained on Thursday that foreign vessels passing through the Philippines' territorial waters will be asked to get clearance even if it is not required under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
Under Article 24 of the UNCLOS, a coastal state should not "impose requirements on foreign ships which have the practical effect of denying or impairing the right of innocent passage."
On August 20, President Rodrigo Duterte instructed all foreign vessels to notify or get clearance from the Philippine government authority in advance of the actual passage to avoid misunderstanding.
This comes after the Western Mindanao Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) reported that five Chinese naval vessels passed through Sibutu Strait in the waters of Tawi-Tawi four were recorded in July and the last on August 4.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the policy of asking foreign vessels passing through Philippine waters is also to allow government authorities to secure them.
Sabi nga ni Secretary Esperon (As mentioned by National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr.), we will maintain that position as initiated by the President, Panelo said in a Palace briefing.
Sabi nga ni Presidente (As said by the President), to avoid misunderstanding. Ibig sabihin, mas maganda yung alam natin para (This means, it's better that we know so) we can secure them also, he added.
Asked if there have been any foreign vessels complying with Duterte's instruction, Panelo said he has yet to receive of any report on the matter.
I have not been told if the Office of the President received any report coming from the National Defense department, Panelo said.
Panelo, meanwhile, confirmed that Duterte will indeed invoke the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) ruling won by the Philippines against China in his next meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping by the end of the month.
Di ba sabi ni Presidente (Didn't the President say), whether you like it, I'm sorry but I have to raise it, Panelo said.
Yun na ang decision niya e (He has already made a decision). He will raise it, he added.
Panelo said the Palace will leave it to China to respond to Duterte's latest statement. Duterte is scheduled to visit China for the fifth time from August 28 to September 2 this year.
Aside from the arbitral ruling, the President will also raise the 60-40 sharing agreement and the June 9 Recto Bank (Reed Bank) maritime incident, where a Chinese vessel allegedly rammed and abandoned a Philippine fishing boat at sea.
The President is also scheduled to watch a Gilas Pilipinas game in the 2019 FIBA World Cup at the International Sports and Cultural Arena in Foshan City and visit Fujian University to attend the inauguration of a building there that was built in honor of his late mother, Soledad. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency