MANILA, Philippines - The Palace on Friday said the arrival of the submarine USS Cheyenne in Subic has the government's clearance.
"To clarify, the Constitution prohibits nuclear armaments, not nuclear-powered. Nuclear-powered nga po ito at mayroon na po itong clearance mula po sa [Department of Foreign Affairs]. May diplomatic clearance na po ito mula sa DFA at in consultation with the Department of National Defense and our Navy for a routine ship replenishment," Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said.
Asked about worries of another environmental damage, Valte said, "They should take the necessary precautions."
The US Embassy in Manila earlier said the USS Cheyenne is visiting Subic for a routine port call. The sub's arrival comes right after the minesweeper, the USS Guardian, hit the Tubbataha Reef in Palawan.
Valte said President Aquino was given an update this morning on the situation at Tubbataha Reef.
She said the President is interested to know the timetable to salvage the minesweeper.
"The President was apprised of the next steps to be taken to extricate the USS Guardian," Valte said.
No deadline has been set. "From what I understand, wala pa naman po. Ang tinatanong lang po ng Pangulo kanina is ano po 'yung tinitingnang timetable because it is not us that is doing the salvaging of the vessel but, again, the Philippine side is coordinating with the United States on the progress that they intend to do."