Well that's great:
"We cannot stop China from doing (these) things," Duterte told journalists when asked about the reports.
"What do you want me to do? Declare war against China? I can't. We will lose all our military and policemen tomorrow and we (will be) a destroyed nation," he told a press conference before departing for a visit to Myanmar.
Duterte said he would tell the Chinese: "Just keep it (the waters) open and do not interfere with our coast guard."
He also brushed aside concerns over Chinese survey ships that had been seen near Benham Rise -- waters east of the main Philippine island of Luzon that have been recognised by the United Nation as indisputably Philippine territory.
Duterte assumes a full-blown war without any allies is the only scenario. Yes, one-on-one, China would crush the Philippines in a war.
But China would risk war with America and Japan (and maybe South Korea, Australia, Vietnam, Singapore, and who knows who else) with a full blown war with the Philippines.
China might fight that war if pushed, but they won't easily choose to fight that full-blown war.
So the Philippines has options to win a small clash or battle that China won't want to risk escalating to levels that the Philippines can't match alone.
Although China is preparing for those small land wars for small islands, too.
Duterte thinks that China's territorial ambitions can be sated. He is wrong. Benham Rise will appear on China's official map of what they claim for the "city" of Sansha if the Philippines doesn't stop China before that.