The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Thursday said after President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered two concerned government agencies to add more patrols in the Benham Rise, the message is clear that no one is allowed to send research vessels without seeking clearance from Philippine government.
In a press briefing, Acting DFA Secretary Enrique Manalo said President Duterte instructed the Philippine Coast Guard to lead in patrolling the area supported by Philippine Navy.
According to Manalo, the Philippines respect freedom of navigation to all foreign vessels who just want to pass the area.
“China has just reaffirmed the Philippine government that they respect our sovereign rights over Benham and President Duterte has already given his instructions to actively send more patrols in the Benham Rise area,” Manalo told reporters in a press briefing.
He said that they had constant communications with the Department of National Defense and the Department of Transportation vowed to give them updates on what was the latest on Benham Rise.
He said ships of any country could pass by Benham Rise without asking for clearance from our government because we do respect freedom of navigation .
“But the fact that this is within the jurisdiction of the Philippines, any foreign vessel should asked permission from the Philippines if they wish to undertake research,” he explained when asked if foreign vessels can just make research without informing Philippine government.