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Foreign researchers in EEZ must ‘turn over command, control’ to Filipinos

/ 07:46 PM August 14, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — Foreigners wanting to conduct maritime research within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) must “turn over command and control” to Filipinos, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said Wednesday.

This was the latest position of Locsin with regards to allowing foreign marine survey ships within Philippine waters.

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“We can’t join their (foreigners) ships as just passengers; foreigners turn over command and control, all data gathering facilities, the entire enchilada to Filipinos,” the foreign affairs chief said on Twitter.

On Tuesday, the country’s top diplomat said he was informed that under maritime laws, the Philippines could not ban any marine survey ships in the country’s EEZ.

Because of this, Locsin backtracked on his earlier remark that he would “universalize” the restriction on marine survey ships following recurrent sightings of Chinese vessels sailing within Philippine waters without permission from Philippine authorities.

READ: Locsin ‘will universalize ban’ on survey ships ‘by adding China’

But maritime law expert Jay Batongbacal said a “[t]otal ban would not be a good idea and counter-productive.”

READ: PH can’t ban marine survey ships – Locsin

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“The real issue is control and supervision, and ensuring data/info/outcomes are to our benefit,” Batongbacal said.

Locsin then replied: “Well now it is clear: we can’t impose a ban but we can refuse to grant authority to marine survey. But my rule is all or nothing; everybody or nobody qualified.” /kga

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