News / Asia

    Philippines Seeks US Compensation for Reef Damage

    FILE - The USS Guardian, a U.S. Navy minesweeper, is seen at the Vicinity of South Islet in Tubbataha Reefs after it ran aground in Palawan province, west of Manila January 19, 2013 in this handout picture distributed by the Armed Forces of the Philippine
    FILE - The USS Guardian, a U.S. Navy minesweeper, is seen at the Vicinity of South Islet in Tubbataha Reefs after it ran aground in Palawan province, west of Manila January 19, 2013 in this handout picture distributed by the Armed Forces of the Philippine
    Simone Orendain
    The Philippines is asking the United States to pay more than a million dollars for damaging an internationally protected reef a year and a half ago. The reef is located in the Sulu Sea, on the opposite side of the South China Sea where the Philippines is in a dispute with China and four other nations.

    In early 2013, the U.S. naval mine sweeping vessel, the USS Guardian was stuck for 73 days on a section of the Tubbataha Reef on the eastern coast of Palawan province. 
     
    Click to enlargeClick to enlarge
    x
    Click to enlarge
    Click to enlarge
    Officials estimate the minesweeper damaged more than 2,300 square meters of corals.  Engineers had to dismantle the ship to remove it.

    Tubbataha Reefs’ Protected Area Superintendent Angelique Songco says an assessment team, which included local officials, U.S. Navy personnel and a U.S. marine biologist, concluded damages would run about $1.5 million.

    “We all agreed.  We had scientists with us.  We all agreed that that was the size after having measured it.  And yes, we’re happy about it and we think it’s fair,” said Songco.

    World Heritage Site

    The 97,000-hectare Tubbataha Reefs are a designated United Nations World Heritage Site.  The marine park’s administrators say more than 70 percent of the world’s coral species grow there.  The sanctuary is a popular recreational diving spot and home to internationally threatened and endangered marine animals.   

    A local environmentalist group “Kalikasan” (or “nature”) says the compensation request is “not only too late, it is not enough.”  Kalikasan National Coordinator Clarence Bautista says the Philippine government should pursue criminal and civil cases.

    “It doesn’t address the issue of how the U.S. Navy or USS Guardian responsible officers and persons [will] be held accountable under Philippine jurisdiction,” said Bautista.  

    Seeking compensation

    Kalikasan filed a petition with the Philippines’ high court calling for several conditions including “immediate compensation” of up to $27 million, pursuing criminal charges under Philippine law and placing a moratorium on joint U.S. and Philippine military exercises especially in marine protected areas.  Bautista says last month the Supreme Court sent word that the U.S. respondents had not yet received the filing.

    The U.S. Navy relieved four officers including the ship’s commander following the incident.

    Weeks after the USS Guardian was cleared away, a Chinese fishing vessel carrying endangered species ran aground on the northern edge of the reef.  

    Tubbataha Superintendent Angelique Songco says the Chinese grounding caused double the amount of damage of the U.S. ship but there has been difficulty tracking down that vessel's owner.

    In light of the two incidents, Tubbataha on Thursday issued an action plan to strengthen enforcement of its “buffer zone.”  It covers 356,000 hectares of surrounding waters.

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Hogan from: USA
    June 19, 2014 8:11 PM
    We broke it... we need to pay for it...

    by: etos from: U.S.A
    June 19, 2014 12:48 PM
    In philippines we had heared about police setting up and extortion tourist, we took the horse carriage, in a red light me n my wife were sorrunded by men stripped from chains n smartphone. As we were walking in drizzle,no taxi will pick you up in rain unless u pay high fee without the meter, we jump in a tricycle that said were our hotel was, was a lie, he took us to his friends and surrounded us with sticks n rocks, we ran

    by: joe from: philippines
    June 19, 2014 12:46 PM
    Watch it philippines, dont bite the hand that feeds you

    by: enforcer from: Rizal
    June 19, 2014 12:41 PM
    When is the Philippines going to charge and enforcer this same rule against China, look at the damage being done off the reefs from dredging, Are you Joking Pino.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora