The Philippines protested the latest “belligerent actions” by China against the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Monday, May 3.
“The Department of Foreign Affairs has protested the shadowing, blocking, dangerous maneuver, and radio challenges by the Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) of Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) vessels conducting legitimate maritime patrols and training exercises in the vicinity of Bajo de Masinloc from April 24 to 25, 2021,” the DFA said in a statement.
The DFA also condemned the “incessant, illegal, prolonged, and increasing presence of Chinese fishing vessels and maritime militia vessels in the Philippine maritime zones,” including Pag-asa Island, Ayungin Shoal, and Bajo de Masinloc.
“The Philippines calls on China to withdraw its government vessels around the KIG (Kalayaan Island Group) and Bajo de Masinloc, and respect Philippine sovereignty,” said the DFA.
Nearly a week earlier, Manila’s defense department issued an equally strong statement against Beijing, declaring that “China has no business telling the Philippines what we can and cannot do within our own waters.”
President Rodrigo Duterte continues to claim, however, that the Philippines should not challenge China because it might lead to war – an assertion repeatedly debunked by experts and academicians.
Duterte’s defeatist stance has prompted other Filipinos to act on their own. On April 30, the fishermen’s group Pamalakaya sent 3 petitions to the United Nations against China’s incursions. Former foreign secretary Albert del Rosario also urged Duterte to speak up more strongly against Beijing. – Rappler.com