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Phl to pursue Tubbataha compensation
The Philippines fined the US government P58 million for the damage to an estimated 4,000 square meters of coral reefs, said to be the largest marine-protected area in the country at 97,030 hectares.
Speaking for the Philippine government, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte told dzRB Radyo ng Bayan (People’s Radio) in an interview that the two countries good discussions on the issue of compensation.
“We're committed to pursuing compensation for it,” Valte said, adding that there is a third party who had filed a case before the Supreme Court in Manila.
On the part of the government, she said, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) was able to file a comment when it was ordered to do so.
Since there is a pending case on this issue, Valte pointed out that it is in the best interest of the government not to comment further.
It can be recalled that USS Guardian ship was on its way to Puerto Princesa, Palawan and then to Indonesia when it got stuck in the reef on January 17 last year.
Environmentalists and militant groups in July last year asked the Supreme Court for a series of Temporary Environmental Protection Orders (TEPOs) aimed at stopping US military exercises and port calls of US warships in the Philippines.
Bishop Pedro Arigo of Palawan province also filed a petition for the Writ of Kalikasan (Writ of Nature) regarding the grounding case in the reef.
The Tubbataha Reef was included as a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) in 1993. It is said to be home to some 500 species of fish and 350 species of coral as well as whales, dolphins, sharks, turtles and breeding seabirds.