MANILA, Philippines – The United States (US)-made unmanned aerial vehicle recovered in Philippine waters early Sunday morning is of the type that is “not armed and not used for surveillance,” the country’s embassy in Manila said Monday.
In a statement, Tina Malone, spokesperson of the US embassy in Manila, said that the embassy was aware of reports that an apparently US-made unmanned aerial vehicle was recovered in the waters off Masbate this weekend and that the recovered vehicle “appears to be of the sort that is used as an air defense target in training exercises.”
“This type of vehicle is not armed and not used for surveillance. We are trying to confirm this interpretation and to determine how and when it may have landed in the sea,” Malone said in a text message.
Earlier reports had noted that Senior Superintendent Heriberto Olitoquit, Masbate police chief, said that the 4-meter US-made drone was seen drifting in the sea waters off Sitio (sub-village) Tacdugan in Barangay (village) Bagahanglad in San Jacinto town by fishermen Jolly Llacer and Ricky Cantoria.
Olitoquit was quoted as saying that the two fishermen dragged the drone to the shoreline of San Jacinto without knowing what it was. Olitoquit had also described the aerial vehicle as having a wingspan of 1.76 meters and a height of about .71 meter.
Reports had noted that operatives from the Philippine National Police in Masbate province have inspected and secured the object but there was no information yet as to who owned the drone and why it fell into the waters off Masbate.
Meanwhile, the military is clueless on the presence of the drone in the area.
“Hindi ko alam kung bakit nandun yun (I don’t know why it was found there). We cannot even confirm kung kelan pa sya nandun (how long it has been there), it could have been there several days ago. We cannot confirm that,” Navy spokesman Colonel Omar Tonsay told reporters.