By Genalyn Kabiling
NONTHABURI, Thailand – The Philippine government is not inclined to lodge a diplomatic protest over the alleged harassment of a Filipino-manned ship passing the Scarborough Shoal or Bajo de Masinloc.
“It does not concern us because it’s not a Philippine vessel,” Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said during a press conference on the sidelines of a regional summit here when asked if a diplomatic protest will be filed over the incident.
“I understand from Foreign Secretary (Teodoro) Locsin it’s not a Filipino ship. It’s a foreign vessel only manned by a Filipino captain,” he added.
A Chinese ship reportedly tried to stop a foreign oil tanker manned by a Filipino crew from passing the Scarborough Shoal. The ship was reportedly asked to stay away from the supposed Chinese-controlled area but the Filipino captain supposedly refused and sailed on anyway.
Asked if the alleged harassment of a foreign ship within the country’s water was an insult to the country’s sovereignty, Panelo maintained that the incident was a concern of the foreign nation, not the Philippines.
“Well for as long they do not touch the Philippine ship or vessel, it will be that concern of the country that carries the flag of that particular vessel,” he said.
Panelo, however, agreed with Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana that China should respect the intentional maritime laws.