MANILA — The Philippines has issued 231 diplomatic protests against China under the Duterte administration since 2016, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs.
In a message to reporters on Tuesday, DFA Assistant Secretary Eduardo Meñez of the Office of Public and Cultural Diplomacy (OPCD) said there have been 231 protests filed against Beijing, as of Nov. 18, 2021.
Most of the notes verbale filed by the DFA covered incidents of the Chinese coast guard's actions against Filipino authorities conducting patrols in the West Philippine Sea.
Manila and Beijing are locked in a maritime dispute over the South China Sea, where the West Philippine Sea is located.
China maintains constant presence in the area despite a July 2016 arbitral ruling of a UN-backed tribunal which invalidated Beijing's expansive claims in the resource-rich waters.
Recently, three Chinese vessels “blocked and water cannoned” two Filipino supply boats transporting food to military personnel stationed in Ayungin Shoal in the Spratly Islands.
Earlier this year, hundreds of Beijing's ships were also spotted around the West Philippine Sea, which Filipino authorities described as an incursion.
The United States, a defense treaty ally of the Philippines, has slammed China's "actions asserting its expansive and unlawful South China Sea maritime claims", saying these "undermine peace and security in the region."
Experts have said the Philippines should not stop filing diplomatic protests against China and must continue conducting maritime patrols in the West Philippine Sea, even when it seems futile. - with a report from Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News