MANILA - A Chinese frigate and 2 Chinese maritime surveillance ships are still in the vicinity of the Ayungin Shoal in the West Philippine Sea despite the Philippines protest against the intrusion, the military said Friday.
According to military spokesman Major Ramon Zagala Jr., they have been monitoring the Chinese ships since 2 weeks ago.
He said the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has no plans to confront the ships because it might aggravate the situation.
He said they will continue to monitor the ships' movements and defend the interests of the country through diplomatic means.
Zagala said Filipino troops stationed in the area have a constitutional duty to protect the country's territory.
The military has forwarded pictures and information of the exact locations of the Chinese ships in Philippine territory to Malacanang and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
The DFA earlier asserted China has no right to claim the Ayungin shoal as it is located just 105 nautical miles from Palawan which is well within the 200-nautical mile Philippine Continental Shelf.
DFA spokesperson Raul Hernandez said only the Philippines has sovereign rights and jurisdiction over the continental shelf and this is guaranteed by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).