(Eagle News)—Only foreign warships passing through Philippine territorial waters should seek clearance from the government, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo clarified on Monday, Aug. 26.
In an interview with CNN Philippines, Panelo said the President said commercial ships do not need to seek permission.
“Sabi ni Presidente ‘yung mga merchant hindi kailangan to inform us, only the warships, grey ships..,” Panelo said.
Earlier, without making any distinctions, the Palace said President Duterte wants foreign vessels passing through Philippine territorial waters to inform Manila way in advance.
This was after the military said two Chinese warships had been spotted in Sibutu Strait near Tawi-Tawi in July while three were seen in August.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana had said their identification systems had been turned off.
The Department of Foreign Affairs has filed a diplomatic protest over the warships.
“Ipaalam lang sa atin. Bakit? ‘Yung lugar na yun maraming pirata doon. Other than securing our own kailangan ma-secure din kayo,” Panelo clarified.