The back story is worse: China bribed Gloria with the ZTE deal money to give them rights to the area, but our press found it out and it was stopped. This 2011 GMA article shows how her 2004 bribe led to China's aggression:
The latest series of diplomatic protests lodged by the Philippines with China and submitted also to the United Nations have its roots to the controversial Joint Marine Seismic Undertaking entered into by the Arroyo government with China in 2004 which allowed China and later on Vietnam to explore not only the Philippine-occupied islands in the disputed mineral-rich Spratlys but areas that are clearly Philippine territory.
The JMSU was signed during Gloria Arroyo’s 2004 visit to China which paved the way for the signing of at least two graft-riddled deals: North Rail and national broadband network with ZTE agreements.
so anyway, while the MSM seems to be covering Hillary dancing with Kerry at a Bollywood like wedding in India, they are ignoring the real news, which can be found in the back pages: that Secretary Mattis is over there talking with India and that the Indian secretary visited not just the US but Hawaii, where the military headquarters for the "Indo Pacific" command" is located.
from Austin Bay:
Here's my translation: When it comes to China's aggressive behavior in the South China Sea and the Himalayas, India and the U.S. are on the same page. India, a nuclear-armed regional power, and the U.S., a global hyperpower, despite their political disagreements, oppose Communist Chinese imperialism. India will not be anyone's lackey. Hence Mattis' recognition of India's "strategic autonomy." But "strategic partnership" enhances India's and America's ability to deter a nuclear-armed global powerhouse (China).there is a Philippine aspect to this: Shipping routes.
The main shipping route from the Middle East (and from India) to Korea and Japan pass through the West Philippine sea.
and they continue to be aggressive, while promising (but not actually doing anything) help for the Philippines if Duterte keeps quiet about the theft.
More at StrategyPage. (read the whole thing).
one result is that the Philippines has been visited by both Japanese and the Indian Naval ships.
as for China: see Wikipedia article on "strong of Pearls" bases in the Indian Ocean.
Remember: China thinks long term, and the ground work is being laid to take over Central and South Asia. Having control of the sealanes is a threat to the economies of weaker nations in the area.
for example, China is extending their influence into Paksitan, building a port in their south. But not using local labor, but importing 50 thousand of Chinese to do the work. (and eventually they estimate half a million Chinese will work there, living in a gated community). (note: Pakistan, like the Philippines, exports hundreds of thousands of construction and industrial workers, especially to the Middle East, so it's not like they couldn't hire local people. So will there be push back? I have no idea.)