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Navy fleshing out Duterte’s ‘unfriendly manner’ directive vs sea incursions

in News/Tabloid PH News
Navy fleshing out Duterte’s ‘unfriendly manner’ directive vs sea incursions
image credit: @philippinenavy / fb

The Philippine Navy is now putting flesh on the directive of President Duterte for concerned authorities to be ready to stop sea incursions even in an “unfriendly manner”.

image credit: @philippinenavy / fb

Navy Chief, Vice Admiral Robert Empedrad told reporters on Wednesday (August 28) they are now finalizing the rules of engagement that the Navy, Philippine Coast Guard, and other concerned agencies will follow when a foreign vessel has entered the country exclusive economic zone (EEZ) without permission.

“Regarding the unfriendly gesture, the Navy is coming out with a rules of engagement. Our concept is once we monitor a vessel entering our territorial waters, we will have a ship to shadow, to accompany that (foreign) ship, assuming that it did not seek permission; we will shadow it until it exited our territorial waters,” Empedrad said.

He continued: “We continuously challenge the ship. If it did not respond or has switched off its AIS (Automatic Identification System), probably we can send an aircraft to shadow it also.”

If the ship still opted to stay within the country’s EEZ, Empedrad said Philippine authorities can cross its bow, although still not in a “provocative manner”.

Empedrad said the rules of engagement will not violate the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and should be taken as the host’s house rules to a visitor.

“The territorial waters is like your house. When you have a visitor, it is your rules that will be followed,” he noted.

President Duterte, Empedrad said, is correct in demanding that foreign vessels seek clearance first before they enter Philippine waters.

The Department of Foreign Affairs already filed diplomatic protests against Beijing the reported repeated incursions of Chinese survey vessels and warships. 

image credit: @philippinenavy / fb

But Duterte also declared that the Philippines will not hesitate to enforce its territorial rights even in an “unfriendly manner”.

Duterte ready to enforce PHL’s territorial rights in “unfriendly manner”

in News/Tabloid PH News
Duterte ready to enforce PHL’s territorial rights in “unfriendly manner”
image credit: pcoo.gov.ph

President Duterte has had enough of foreign intrusions into Philippine waters, declaring that Philippine authorities will be compelled to enforce its territorial rights in an “unfriendly manner”.

Duterte’s spokesman and chief legal counsel, Salvador Panelo, on Tuesday (August 20) said: “To avoid misunderstanding in the future, the President is putting on notice that beginning today, all foreign vessels passing our territorial waters must notify and get clearance from the proper government authority well in advance of the actual passage.”

Malacanang’s pronouncement came after persistent reports of foreign vessels—including those from China and Vietnam— being spotted within the Philippines’s exclusive economic zone.

“Either we get a compliance in a friendly manner or we enforce it in an unfriendly manner,” Panelo said.                           

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) earlier disclosed that Chinese warships have been spotted in Sibutu Strait in the South since February.

Chinese research vessels were also monitored by a US-based maritime expert within the Philippine EEZ.

Vietnamese and Chinese fishing vessels, as well as a coast guard vessel of China, were spotted by the AFP in Ayungin Shoal.

Because of these recent intrusions, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. already ordered on Monday the filing of another diplomatic protest against Beijing.

This is a prelude to President Duterte’s scheduled visit to China from August 28 to September 2.

Manila and Beijing are signatories to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which allows innocent passage of ships through the territorial sea of a coastal state provided that it will be “continuous and expeditious.”

On Monday, Panelo told reporters that Duterte takes the unannounced entry of foreign vessels into Philippine territory seriously. “It is an issue with the Office of the President given that we need to be informed in advance of any passage in our territory, because that is what the UNCLOS says.” 

Manila to protest anew China’s sea incursions

in News/Tabloid PH News
Manila to protest anew China’s sea incursions
image credit: @rdmartinson88/twitter

It’s just a few days before President Duterte’s fifth state visit to China and Manila is already set to file a third diplomatic protest against Beijing in a matter of two months due to the countries’ sea conflict.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodory Locsin Jr. posted on Twitter on Friday morning (August 9) that his office is preparing to send another note verbale to Beijing after Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana went on air to question the presence of Chinese ships in the Philippine waters.

Locsin’s tweet reads: ”Okay, got it, General. @DFAPHL firing off diplomatic protest.” 

Lorenzana, in an interview over the ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC) on Friday, said Manila should seek an explanation from Beijing why Chinese warships and research vessels are being spotted in Philippine waters on multiple occasions without clearance from Philippine authorities.

The Defense chief said while the Philippines does not have proper radar equipment to accurately monitor Chinese activities in its own exclusive economic zone (EEZ), the sightings of Chinese vessels have been revealed by a US-based maritime expert.

Earlier, Ryan Martinson, assistant professor at China Maritime Studies Institute of Naval War College, said Chinese ship Zhanjian has been in the Philippine waters since August 3, with another Chinese survey ship, Dong Fang Hong 3, also seen entering the Philippines’s EEZ.

Chinese warships were also spotted off Sibutu Strait in the Philippines’s southern tip in four instances from February to July.

“What we need really is to allay the fears of the neighbors of China, to inform the other countries what their ships are doing there — not only the survey ship, but also their warships passing through our territorial waters,” Lorenzana said in the ANC interview. “If the intention is only to study the sea or the fish, marine life there, then it is not a security threat. But if they’re doing other things like making reconnaissance or surveillance of our positions, then it’s a threat.”

This will be the third diplomatic protest that Manila will lodged against Beijing in a span of two months, with the first note verbale caused by the sinking of a Filipino fishing boat by a Chinese vessel, and the second due to the presence of numerous Chinese warships in the disputed areas of the South China Sea.

President Duterte is set to visit Beijing at the end of the month, the fifth already, as the Philippines and China try to improve ties already hurt by the sea conflicts.

“Once we have set the agenda, I’d talk first about jurisdiction, the COC (South China Sea Code of Conduct), and the exploitation of the natural resources of my country since, as far as I’m concerned, we own it. So that is my position. We still own what we are claiming,” Duterte said on Thursday.

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