MANILA — Malacañang explained that there was no incursion that happened on the reported passage of Chinese ships in Benham Rise last year.
According to Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella, the survey ships were in the area to do research in accordance to the agreement China had with President Rodrigo Duterte.
Malacañang also reiterates that there has been no conflict of interest in the statements of President Rodrigo Duterte, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, and the Department of Foreign Affairs on reported passage of Chinese survey ships in Benham Rise last year.
Just last week, Lorenzana discussed the said issue and ordered the Philippine Navy to accost and drive away Chinese ships spotted near Benham Rise.
On Monday, President Duterte had an agreement with China that Beijing should inform him first about sending ships in the area.
At yesterday’s press briefing, a reporter asked Abella as to why the President did not inform the Department of National Defense (DND) and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) of the agreement.
“Ah, I think you are framing it differently,” said Abella, “there was no exclusion, there was no conflict, it was just a question of referring to separate matters at the same time….they were both apprised.” — UNTV News & Rescue
WATCH: Government urged to take immediate action to protect Benham Rise
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