From Manila sources, the Philippines has lodged 78 diplomatic protests with the Chinese Communist Party since Duterte became the country’s president in 2016, according to data provided by the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on April 26.
Ivy Banzon-Abalos, executive director of the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs’ Office of Strategic Communications and Research, told a reporter from the country’s largest radio and television company ABS-CBN that “there have been 78 diplomatic protests against the CCP under Duterte’s administration.” The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs told the media on Friday that “the Philippine side has filed two new diplomatic protests against the illegal and persistent presence of the CCP in Philippine waters.” Duterte has been president of the Philippines since June 2016, when he began his six-year term.
In response to the recent massive buildup of Chinese vessels in the disputed waters near Niu Yoke Reef, the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs had vowed to keep taking diplomatic action until Beijing’s vessels leave the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Gas and oil resources are believed to be stored there. “The continued swarming and threatening presence of Chinese vessels creates an atmosphere of instability and is a blatant disregard for the Communist Party’s commitment to promote peace and stability in the region,” the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs said.
The Philippine presidency said last week that Duterte has yet to speak with China about the presence of Chinese ships in the West Philippine Sea, as his aides have already done. Harry Roque, spokesman for the Philippine presidency, said that according to the doctrine of qualified political institutions, “the rhetoric of the alter ego is the rhetoric of the president, unless the president abandons them.” He said, “When the president doesn’t deny what his alter ego says, it’s as if he’s speaking himself. He doesn’t have to speak.”
Earlier, Duterte said in a speech on the 19th that he is not too concerned about fisheries development in the disputed waters right now, and that he will order Philippine ships to go to claim when the Chinese exploit resources such as oil there. “If we go there to claim our jurisdiction, it will be bloody”, Duterte said in his speech. Separately on the Philippine Coast Guard’s recent announcement to hold drills in disputed waters in the South China Sea, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin responded on 26 June that “China urges the parties concerned to respect China’s sovereignty and rights and to stop making moves that lead to complicating the situation and expanding the dispute.”