More than 200 diplomatic notes were so far filed by the Philippine government against China since 2016, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) disclosed Thursday, Oct. 21.
Assistant Secretary and DFA Spokesperson Eduardo Meñez of the DFA Office of Public and Cultural Diplomacy (OPCD), said that a total of 211 diplomatic notes have been filed by the country, with the majority being lodged this year.
“There have been 211 notes verbale issued since 2016, majority of which (153) were filed in 2021,” Meñez said.
The Foreign Affairs official further disclosed that the latest protest was issued on September 30, citing the incidents in August 2021.
“Yes, the incidents in August are covered but these types of warnings are SOP (standard operating procedure) by the Chinese just as our Coast Guard also issue warnings,” Meñez said, adding that “China responded to 151 notes verbal.”
On Wednesday night, Oct. 20, the DFA through its official Twitter account, revealed that the Philippines has protested China’s latest “provocative acts” against Philippine authorities conducting legitimate, customary, and routine patrols over and around the Philippines’ territory and maritime zones,
“The tweet was issued yesterday upon instructions,” Meñez said.
The Foreign Affairs department said that it has monitored “over 200 radio challenges, sounding of sirens, and blowing of horns” conducted by Chinese government vessels against Philippine authorities.
On Sept. 30 this year, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. ordered the DFA to protest China’s continued presence of at least 150 Chinese vessels moving around from “one spot to another” in the West Philippine Sea, particularly in Iroquois Reef.
During that time, radio challenges were also unlawfully issued against Philippine maritime patrols.
At the same time, the DFA was also ordered to file a protest on China’s “incessant and unlawful restriction of Filipino fishermen from conducting legitimate fishing activities in Bajo de Masinloc.”