Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Tuesday said the Chinese research vessel was only allowed to take emergency shelter from bad weather in Philippine waters and was not given a permission? to stay for a long period.
Locsin said the Department of Foreign Affairs only authorized the ship take emergency shelter off Catanduanes following a request by the Chinese Embassy.
"DFA never gave permission to Jia Geng. For humanitarian reasons, DFA okayed the emergency Chinese Embassy request for shelter against bad weather. Request for shelter; not permission to stay and be watched. Period," Locsin said on Twitter.
The ship dropped anchor on Cabugao Bay, Catanduanes on Jan. 29 and left on Feb. 1.
Philippine lawmakers called on the government to look into the suspicious presence of the Chinese ship in the country's waters.
In September last year, the same Chinese research vessel was spotted in the Philippines' exclusive economic zone.
The Chinese Embassy has decried reports insinuating illegal activity in Philippine waters, claiming "some forces in the Philippines either for their own political interests or out of prejudice toward China" are behind the fabricated reports and the spreading of "fake and baseless" news.
In a statement, the embassy said its vessel merely sought "humanitarian shelter in Philippine waters due to unfavorable weather and sea conditions in the Pacific where they are scheduled to conduct research mission."
The ship, it added, asked for "clearance and humanitarian assistance from the Philippine government and maintained communication with its relevant authorities all the time."? ?— RSJ, GMA News
This article Permit given to Chinese research vessel only for emergency shelter — Locsin was originally published in GMA News Online.