US submarine visit has diplomatic clearance – Palace-A A +A
Friday, February 1, 2013
MALACAÑANG on Friday defended the visit of a nuclear-powered United States submarine in the country, saying that it has clearance from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
The USS Cheyenne, a Los Angeles-class submarine equipped with Tomahawk missiles and torpedo tubes, is set to arrive in Subic Bay, Zambales, today (Friday).
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte clarified that the Constitution prohibits the entry of nuclear armaments in the country and not nuclear-powered ships.
While government is still having difficulty in salvaging a stranded US minesweeper in Tubbataha Reef, Valte said the USS Cheyenne was given diplomatic clearance since its visit is only for "routine ship replenishment."
The Palace official said the visit was also approved by the Department of National Defense and the Philippine Navy.
Valte said US ships usually replenish supplies in Subic under the auspices of the Visiting Forces Agreement.
"If they need to stop in Subic, they ask for permission from our government. In this case, it's a regular ship replenishment and we gave them permit if we see that all documents they submitted are valid," she said.
Malacañang is expecting that the USS Cheyenne will take "all the necessary precautions" as it is reportedly traversing the route where the USS Guardian ran aground.
Meanwhile, Valte said President Benigno Aquino III met with concerned government agencies regarding the status of the extrication of USS Guardian out of the marine protected sanctuary.
"The President was apprised of the next steps to be taken to extricate the USS Guardian," she said noting that the US and the Philippines are discussing of "disassembling" the US minesweeper.
She said President Aquino did not set a deadline on whether or not the extrication should be performed. (Jill Beltran/Sunnex)