MANILA (UPDATE) - Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Monday minced no words in telling China to get out of Philippine waters.
Five Chinese Coast Guard vessels remain in the country's territorial waters as of April 22, the National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea earlier said.
“China, my friend, how politely can I put it? Let me see… O…GET THE F*** OUT," Locsin said in a tweet.
"What are you doing to our friendship? You. Not us. We’re trying. You. You’re like an ugly oaf forcing your attentions on a handsome guy who wants to be a friend; not to father a Chinese province,” he added.
"What is it so hard to understand about Duterte’s UN declaration that the Arbitral Award made all maritime features Philippines; no one else’s?”
Locsin made the remark as his agency protested the Chinese Coast Guard’s belligerent actions against the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the “incessant, illegal, prolonged, and increasing presence” of Chinese fishing vessels and maritime militia vessels in Philippine waters.
"China has no law enforcement rights in these areas. The presence of Chinese Coast Guard vessels in the Philippines' territorial waters of Pag-asa Islands and Bajo de Masinloc, and exclusive economic zone, raises serious concern," the Department of Foreign Affairs said.
"The unauthorized and lingering presence of these vessels is a blatant infringement of Philippine sovereignty."
In a statement, the DFA cited the Chinese Coast Guard’s “shadowing, blocking, dangerous maneuver, and radio challenges” against PCG vessels conducting maritime patrols and training exercises in the vicinity of Bajo de Masinloc from April 24 to 25.
"The Philippines' conduct of maritime patrols and training exercises in these areas is a legitimate and routine act of a sovereign country in its territory and territorial waters and is part of the Philippines' administrative responsibility," it said.
It added that from Jan. 1 to March 18, the country's maritime law enforcement agencies monitored the "continued unauthorized presence and activities of hundreds of Chinese vessels in the West Philippine Sea."
These vessels were spotted around the Pag-asa Islands, Zamora Reef, Panata and Kota Islands, Ayungin Shoal, Quirino Atoll and Bajo de Masinloc.
The Philippines again called on China “to withdraw its government vessels around the KIG and Bajo de Masinloc and respect Philippine sovereignty.”
Manila has filed several protests following the illegal presence of Chinese ships in the country's exclusive economic zone. It has vowed to continue to do so until Beijing's vessels have left the area.
'BULLIES NEVER WIN'
Sen. Risa Hontiveros also slammed the Chinese Coast Guard's supposed hostile action towards Philippine maritime authorities.
"Lubos na nakakagalit na ang coast guard pa natin ang nahaharangan at hinahamon ng Tsina sa ating mga teritoryo," she said in a statement.
(It's enraging that our coast guard was blocked and challenged by China in our own territory.)
Expressing support to the DFA's recent protests against Beijing's excessive maritime claims, she called on the government to send more ships to the West Philippine Sea.
"This is not the time to kowtow to the autocratic and hypocritical regime in Beijing. If we don't assert our rights under international law, we lose them," she said.
"Let’s not stop until China is put in her place. Bullies never win."
President Rodrigo Duterte last week said the Philippines holds a "debt of gratitude" for Chinese aid, but its territorial waters "cannot be bargained."
"Hindi po namin pinanghihimasukan ang karapatan ng malayang pananalita ni Secretary Locsin," Duterte's spokesman Harry Roque said of the top diplomat's expletive.
(We do not interfere with Secretary Locsin's right to free speech.)
Roque did not answer a media question on whether or not Locsin's statement signals a shift in Philippine rhetoric on China.
Upon assuming power in 2016, Duterte forged friendlier relations with China, temporarily setting aside the arbitral award on the South China Sea in favor of economic aid and investments from Beijing.
The UN-backed arbitration court in The Hague ruled that China's sweeping claims over almost the entire sea have no legal basis, but Beijing continues to shun the decision, instead ramping up militarization and island-building activities.