August 20, 2019
President Rodrigo Duterte warned that all foreign vessels passing through Philippine waters must notify authorities and get clearance from the government.
The announcement came after some Chinese vessels were seen in the Philippine waters without notify the proper government authority.
“We would like to inform the public as well as the world that the President is putting on notice that henceforth, beginning today, all foreign vessels that will be passing through our territorial waters will have to get clearance from the proper government authority way ahead in advance before the actual passage,” Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo told reporters on Tuesday.
“Either we, rather either they comply in a friendly manner or we will enforce in an unfriendly manner,” he added.
Panelo said the government will stop all foreign vessels and tell them to move out.
Asked if they will stop the foreign vessel militarily, Panelo said they will do it if they have to take to that.
“We’re saying that we will enforce it in an unfriendly manner, by that it means that we will ask them to move, to move out of the place. That’s unfriendly because before we never said anything, we just allowed them and just make protests. But this time we will tell them please get out of our territory,” Panelo said.
“You know, when you perform acts repeatedly this is about time to tell them to stop,” he added.
Panelo said Duterte has not given any directive to the military on the matter.
Panelo said the government is not afraid of the Chinese government but they are only generous to friends.
“But even between friends, there is a time to tell our friends not to do things not deemed to be an act of friendship,” he said.
Panelo said the issue may be discussed during Duterte’s visit in China on August 28.
“The fact that we’re raising it officially, then it should reach the Chinese government,” he said.
According to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, the Western Mindanao Command said Chinese warships sailed through the Sibutu Strait at least three times in August. Two more incursions by Chinese vessels were also reported in July by the military. Ella Dionisio/DMS
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