PBBM: PH to lodge protest, note verbale vs China after Ayungin Shoal incident

Despite establishing a new mechanism with China on matters regarding the South China Sea, President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. said the Philippines will still file a protest against Beijing after the recent incident in the Ayungin Shoal.

President 'Bongbong' Marcos Jr. (RTVM / PTV Screenshot)

Marcos said this after the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said that the Chinese Coast Guard drove away a Filipino fishing boat in Ayungin Shoal in the West Philippine Sea and continued to shadow them until they left the area early this month.

In an interview with the media, the President said that the new mechanism he had proposed during his State Visit to China early this month was already in effect, but this did not mean that the Philippines would just sit by.

Marcos was referring to his suggestion to raise the level of communication between the Philippines and China on issues involving the South China Sea, to include a direct line to the heads of state.

"We have immediately used that thing. Hopefully, our counterparts on the other side can bring it to President Xi's attention, this problem, and we have done that," he said.

"But it does not preclude us from continuing to make protests and continuing to send note verbales concerning this," he added.

President Marcos noted that it is a long process because it is something new, hoping both sides can come to an arrangement.

Marcos stressed that Filipino fishing boats are not armed and won't pose a threat to anyone.

"So I think that is something that we can achieve in the near term," he pointed out.