Malacañang on Friday called on China to respect the sovereign rights and jurisdiction of the Philippines over its continental shelf.
Palace deputy spokesman Abigail Valte was reacting to the confirmed reports of at least 10 Chinese fishing vessels backed by two large civilian ships being present at the Ayungin Shoal.
“We continue to call on China to respect what is ours,” Valte said, noting that the Philippine government continues to monitor the developments in the Shoal.
“We continue to monitor activities in the area and to assess our options,” Valte added
The Shoal is located some 110 nautical miles from the southernmost tip of Palawan, compared to some 300 to 500 nautical-mile distance from the tip of mainland China.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) had already filed a diplomatic protest with the Chinese Embassy on this illegal presence of two Chinese Marine surveillance ships and a Chinese warship near Ayungin Reef in the West Philippine Sea.
Foreign Affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez earlier said that the reef is located 105.77 nautical miles from Palawan and constitutes part of the 200-nautical mile Philippine Continental Shelf as provided under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos).
He described the latest intrusion of Chinese vessels as provocative and illegal.
Last May 10, the DFA also filed a protest with China because “Ayungin is an integral part of our national territory,” according to Hernandez.