The Philippines has filed another diplomatic protest against China on Monday over the continued presence of the Asian neighbor’s ships at Julian Felipe Reef in the West Philippine Sea.
The diplomatic protest was filed by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) after some senators backed Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana in denouncing the presence of Chinese ships at the reef, which China claims to be its own.
In its protest, the DFA said: “For every day of delay [of the Chinese ships leaving], the Republic of the Philippines will lodge a diplomatic protest.” The first protest filed by DFA was on March 21.
The said reef is located 324 kilometers east of Palawan province and well within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
The DFA also slammed the Chinese Embassy’s statement on Sunday that branded Lorenzana as being “unprofessional” and Beijing’s “blatant falsehoods such as claims of adverse weather conditions when there were none and the supposed non-existence of maritime militia vessels in the area.”
The agency also said that officials of the Chinese Embassy are “guests” of the Philippine government and “must at all times observe protocol and accord respect to Philippine Government officials.”
One of the senators that backed Lorenzana is Franklin Drilon who said:
“It is high time that the country as one nation stand up to China’s continued incursion in the West Philippine Sea. By all accounts, it is maritime bullying.”
Senator Panfilo Lacson also said Filipinos “should stand foursquare” behind Lorenzana.
“All these have legal basis under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the existing arbitral ruling in our favor,” Lacson said in statement.
Sen. Francis Pangilinan, for his part, said China should put an end to its “dubious and illegal claim” over the country’s EEZ and its territorial waters. SOVEREIGNPH