Duterte administration already filed 100 diplomatic protests vs China over West PH Sea issue – DFA

Published May 30, 2021, 11:57 AM

by Roy Mabasa

The Philippines under the Duterte administration has already filed about 100 diplomatic protests against China over various infractions on the West Philippine Sea, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said over the weekend.


This confirmation came shortly after the DFA announced that it has lodged a diplomatic protest on Friday against the “incessant deployment, prolonged presence, and illegal activities” of Chinese maritime assets and fishing vessels in the vicinity of Pag-asa islands.

“We have filed 98 protest notes as of 28 May 2021,” DFA Executive Director for Strategic Communications Ivy Banzon-Abalos told reporters.

In the latest protest, the Philippines demanded that China withdraw the vessels in Pag-asa, an area that the DFA maintained is “an integral part of the Philippines over which it has sovereignty and jurisdiction.”

Internationally known as Thitu Island, Pag-asa lies 480 kilometers west of Puerto Princesa City, Palawan. It serves as the largest outpost in what the Philippines calls the Kalayaan Island Group, a chain of 9 islets it claims as territory among the broader group internationally known as the Spratlys.

The diplomatic protest against Beijing is literally increasing every day since last month following the incident in Julian Felipe Reef where around 287 Chinese maritime and fishing vessels were monitored swarming and lingering in the area which is only about 175 nautical miles from Bataraza town in Palawan.

Since then, the Philippines has filed daily diplomatic protests against China over the illegal presence of its vessels in Julian Felipe Reef and despite repeated demands from the foreign affairs and defense department officials to withdraw from the area.

On May 26, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. also directed the DFA to file a diplomatic protest against China following the recommendations made by the National Task Force on the West Philippine Sea (NTF-WPS) over the alleged radio challenge posed by Chinese maritime authorities against Philippine vessels sailing in Philippine waters.