MANILA – Armed with giant measuring tapes, more than 30 members of the Akbayan party-list group held a protest in front of the Chinese Consular Office in Makati on Wednesday to express their anger over China's latest act of harassment of a Philippine civilian vessel at the West Philippine Sea.
The group was led by Akbayan Rep. Barry Gutierrez, who said that China does not know how to measure its territorial boundaries and illegally encroached on Philippine territory.
He said Ayungin shoal is 105 nautical miles from the Philippines and part of the exclusive economic zone of the country, while China’s nearest landmass is more than 1,100 kilometers away.
Gutierrez said China's claim is "mind boggling."
Akbayan also voiced out its support for the memorial filed by the Aquino government before the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea.
The group urged China to participate in the process of international arbitration if Beijing really thinks it has strong evidence and arguments to prove its position.
The Department of Foreign Affairs, through its spokesperson Charles Jose, said that by filing the memorial, the government expressed the country's position on its claim of parts of the West Philippine Sea.
On Tuesday, Chinese officials warned that the filing of the memorial could bring more harm to Chinese-Philippines relations.
They also called on the Philippines to come back to bilateral negotiations to resolve the dispute.