Guidelines to implement Duterte’s order on foreign ships needed

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The Department of National Defense (DND) on Thursday said it will first coordinate with the military on how to carry out President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s instructions requiring all foreign ships to secure clearance before entering the country’s territorial waters.

“We will have to carefully work this out with the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines), particularly the commands whose area of operations these fall under. There needs to be SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) that clearly define our responses in compliance with existing Philippine and international laws,” said Undersecretary Cardozo M. Luna, acting DND spokesperson.

He made this statement in response to questions on how the DND will operationalize the Chief Executive’s order, especially on the enforcement part.

The President’s order came in wake of repeated passing of foreign vessels, particularly Chinese warships, in Philippine waters without notifying the Philippine government.

Also on Thursday, the Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed Manila filed a diplomatic protest against Beijing over the matter.

The Western Mindanao Command earlier reported that five Chinese naval vessels passed through Sibutu Strait in the waters of Tawi-Tawi – four were recorded in July and the last on August 4. PNA