MANILA, Philippines — Tulad ng Department of National Defense (DND), wala ring alam ang Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) sa pagpayag ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte sa China pasukin ang Benham Rise.
“I would like to repeat what acting (Foreign Affairs) Secretary Enrique Manalo said yesterday in his press conference that we are not aware of any agreement that was agreed upon between the Philippines and China with regard to this vessel spotted in Benham Rise,” wika ni DFA spokesperson Charles Jose sa ANC.
Ang pahayag ng DFA ay taliwas sa sinabi ng Malacañang na ipinaalam umano ito sa DFA at DND.
Kinumpirma ni Duterte nitong Lunes na nagpaalam sa kanila ang China na magpadala ng research ship sa Benham Rise na pinayagan naman niya.
Bago ito ay naalarma ang DND nang malaman ang naging aktibidad ng China sa teritoryo ng Pilipinas.
“We are not aware of the agreement mentioned by the president,” ani Jose.
“Sinabi niya 'yun kahapon? Kailan niya 'yun sinabi? Ah hindi ko masasagot 'yan. Hindi ko alam 'yan," sabi ni DND Secretary Delfin Lorenzana nitong Martes kaugnay ng pagkumpirma ni Duterte.
Iginiit naman ni Jose na tanging ang Pilipinas lamang ang may karapatan sa teritoryo matapos itong kilalanin ng United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
“The Philippines has the sole and exclusive right to explore, exploit, conserve and manage the natural resources that could be found in Benham Rise both mineral or in gas deposits,” paliwanag ni Jose.
“Our position is very clear with regard to Benham Rise we have sovereign rights and jurisdiction and we are the only country that can explore and exploit the natural resources that can be found therein. So other countries should get our permission should they want to survey the resources there. That’s very clear. And on the part of the DFA we’ll do our part to make sure our rights are protected and are asserted with regard to Benham Rights.”