January 25, 2023
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines may continue filing protests over the Chinese Coast Guard driving away Filipino fishermen from Ayungin Shoal, though it had already used a process agreed on with China to resolve such a problem, according to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
In a panel interview on Monday, Marcos said that, shortly after he returned from his visit to China early this month, he reported about a Chinese ship “shadowing” a Filipino fishing boat.
He had earlier raised the proposed mechanism with Chinese President Xi Jinping but they had not reached a compromise on it yet.
“So we have immediately used that thing, that mechanism that I talked about that says we can even immediately contact the Chinese government, and hopefully our counterparts on the other side can bring it to President Xi’s attention — this problem. And we have done that,” he said during the interview.
“But that does not preclude us from continuing to make protests and continuing to send notes verbale concerning this,” the President added.
He noted that ironing out the mechanism would be a long process.
“I just hope we can come to some kind of arrangement because I cannot see the utility for the Chinese of doing that. These fishing boats are not armed. They don’t pose a threat to anyone. So I think that is something that we can achieve in the near – in the near term,” Marcos said.
Early this month, there was a report that the Chinese Coast Guard chased a Filipino fishing boat away from Ayungin Shoal in the West Philippine Sea and followed them until they left the area.
Earlier, Marcos that Xi has committed to “find a compromise and find a solution” for Filipino fishermen to resume fishing in the West Philippine Sea.
This was during his three-day state visit to Beijing earlier this month.