At least five Chinese warships have intruded into Philippine waters in the Sibutu Strait, Western Mindanao Command head Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana said.
This brought the number of Chinese People’s Liberation Army vessels that have recently entered the country to 13.
“Since these warships entered our territory, these should have been coordinated [with us]. We have informed the national leadership so they can engage with their counterparts through the Department of Foreign Affairs,” Sobejana said.
“It was not an innocent passage, because innocent passage is in a straight line. When you are in a curb, that is no longer considered as innocent passage,” he added.
Sobejana said the vessels entered Sibutu Strait in two occasions—two in July and three this month.
The Chinese warships left immediately after these were spotted by air and naval patrol units, he said.
In February, four Chinese warships also infringed on Philippine waters in Sibutu Strait, prompting Defense chief Delfin Lorenzana to raise the issue with Chinese Ambassador to Manila Zhao Jianhua.
Similar sightings of four warships were also recorded in Balabac, Palawan near the West Philippine Sea.