MANILA, Philippines—A lawmaker on Tuesday urged Malacañang to explain the circumstances surrounding a United States unmanned aerial vehicle or “drone” that recently fell into Philippine waters.
ACT Teachers Partylist Representative Antonio Tinio said the “Malacañang owes the public a full explanation regarding the presence of this US Navy drone in the municipal waters of Masbate.”
Fishermen recovered the drone, identified as an aerial target drone BQM-74E Chukar III, on Monday, after seeing it floating in the waters off Ticao Island.
“Which US Navy warship deployed this drone, when, where, and and for what purpose? These are some of the questions that should be answered,” said Tinio, pointing out that the last Balikatan exercise in the Bicol region happened way back in April 2009.
Bayan Muna Partylist Representative Teddy Casiño also sought answers as to whether the government had been aware of the drone’s operation and presence in its airspace and whether clearances had been given for it.
“What is its mission? Who gave the clearances for such an operation? If no clearance was obtained, will the Philippine government file a protest?” he asked.
They also raised the question of whether there had been a violation of the Philippines’ sovereignty.
“It appears that the US is infringing upon our territorial sovereignty with impunity,” said Casiño.