In his Twitter post, Foreign Affairs Sec. Teodoro Locsin Jr. said it instructed the Department of Foreign Affairs to file a diplomatic protest.
According to the National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea (NTF-WPS), 6 Chinese navy ships including 3 warships were spotted in the WPS.
Two People’s Liberation Army Navy ships were also spotted in Bajo de Masinloc.
The Chinese navy vessels are in addition to the estimated 240 Chinese militia vessels scattered in the country’s territorial waters within the Philippine Exclusive Economic Zone.
According to the NTF-WPS, the presence of Chinese warships in the Philippine EEZ can be considered maritime militarization that is detrimental to peace and stability in the region.
Of the 240 Chinese militias, 136 are on Burgos Reef, nine on Julian Felipe Reef, 65 on Chigua Reef, six on Panganiban Reef, three on Zamora Reef, four on Pag-asa Islands, one on Likas Island, five on Kota Island, and 11 in Ayungin Shoal.
According to the NTF-WPS, if the ships are fishing vessels, due to their size of 60 meters, 240 ships are capable of catching 240,000 kilos of fish day/day through illegal fishing in Philippine waters.
PH to file another diplomatic protest vs Chinese vessels in WPS
The NTF-WPS also responded to the first observed adoption by Chinese fishermen of giant clams in the vicinity of Pag-asa island in violation of Philippine law and the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
Earlier, the DFA announced that they had summoned Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian to explain the “illegal” stay of their ships.
The agency also expressed their “irritation” at such action.
“The DFA expressed displeasure over the illegal lingering presence of Chinese vessels in Julian Felipe reef,” said DFA.
DFA Acting Undersecretary Elizabeth Buensuceso stressed to Chinese ambassador Huang that Chinese ships are inside the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone and this is causing tension.
Based on the case won by the Philippines against China in 2016, there is no basis for China’s claim to almost the entire South China Sea.