FOREIGN Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. yesterday ordered the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to lodge another diplomatic protest against China over reports of the continued presence of Chinese vessels in various reefs and islands within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
Locsin’s move was prompted after an incident where the Chinese vessel chased a Filipino boat carrying fishermen and an ABS-CBN News crew in the West Philippine Sea earlier this week.
In a tweet, Locsin said “I haven’t heard anything from the f_____g NTF-WPS but I’ll take ABS-CBN News’s word for it. Changing my policy of acting only on NTF requests. @DFAPHL fire a diplomatic protest now,” the country’s top diplomat said in a tweet.
The National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea (NTF-WPS) issued a statement on Tuesday denouncing the continuous presence of over 240 Chinese ships composed of “Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) and maritime militia” in the West Philippine Sea.
“The Philippine government reiterates its demand upon China to withdraw all its vessels from the Municipality of Kalayaan and the Philippine EEZ,” the NTF-WPS said.
Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian was summoned by the DFA on Monday to express the Philippine government’s utmost displeasure over the illegal lingering presence of Chinese vessels in Julian Felipe Reef saying it is a source of regional tension.