No clearance needed to go to Scarborough Shoal — PCG
MANILA, Philippines — Those who wish to visit the Scarborough Shoal need not apply for a permit or clearance to do so, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said Monday.
PCG Spokesperson Armando Balilo point this out after opposition senatorial candidate Gary Alejano said he formally wrote the PCG to ask for clearance to visit the shoal.
“Hindi naman nila kailangan mag-apply ng permit o clearance kasi lahat naman pwede magpunta doon (sa Scarborough Shoal),” PCG Spokesperson Armando Banlilo told INQUIRER.net in a phone interview.
“Walang prohibition on the part of PCG,” he added.
He said that he does not have information yet if the letter, which was addressed to PCG Commandant Admiral Elson Hermogino, was already received by the agency.
Balilo, however, maintained that such a letter is unnecessary since no clearance is needed to go to the area.
He added that the PCG only requires the boat that they will use for the visit to ask for a departure clearance from the coast guard.
“Tingin ko kahit wala ng letter kasi sabi naman ni Commandant Hermogino na walang kailangan clearance kung pupunta doon sa area.
“Ang nire-require lang namin, yung boat, magdedeparture clearance kasi kailangan nila magsabi, saka ang barko, magpapaalam sa coast guard, lalo na ngayon na may mga opisyal na pupunta,” he said.
He explained that the boat captains would just have to go to the PCG station to inform them of their planned trip.
“Kailangan lang alam namin, para kung may mangyari, alam namin kung anong gagawin namin,” the PCG official said.
Balilo earlier said that there was no policy that bars people from going to the Scarborough Shoal. The PCG only prohibits boats from sailing when the sea condition is rough due to inclement weather.
Opposition senatorial candidates had earlier claimed that their planned trip to the shoal was barred by the PCG. /je
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