Palace insists foreign ships need to get PH clearance for their security
MANILA, Philippines — Foreign vessels passing through territorial waters of the Philippines need to get clearance from the Philippine government for their security, Malacañang said Thursday.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo insisted that the order of President Rodrigo Duterte was also meant to avoid any misunderstanding.
“You know the President himself said ‘to avoid misunderstanding.’ That means, it’s better that we know so we can secure them,” Panelo said in a Palace briefing.
On Tuesday, Panelo said the President wanted “all foreign vessels passing our territorial waters must notify and get clearance from the proper government authority well in advance of the actual passage.”
But Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio on Thursday said Duterte’s order goes against the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
“What the Philippines should do is to pass the Archipelagic Sea Lanes Passage bill so the President can designate the sea lanes where foreign merchant ships and warships could pass,” Carpio said.
Asked if any foreign vessel has complied with the President’s order, Panelo said “I have not received any report from the military or the Coastguard.”
Panelo, who is also Duterte’s chief legal counsel, insisted that requiring foreign ships to get clearance was meant for their security.
“[P]recisely the purpose is to secure them so we would know a ship would pass there. They can be escorted by the Coastguard.” /muf
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