Fishers call US ship ran aground incident as massacre of biodiversity

AN activist fisherfolk group today described the incident involving a US Navy minesweeper that ran aground in Tubataha Reef off Sulu Sea as a grand massacre of a nationally protected area in the country.

The Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) and Anakpawis party list said the environmental incident is a product of US military intervention and war of aggression.

” That gory environmental incident in Tubataha reef is courtesy of the current administration’s blockbuster puppetry to America. The entire Philippine archipelago has been transformed into a red carpet arena for US intervention at the expense of national sovereignty, Philippine patrimony, the people’s livelihood and marine environment. This massacre of biodiversity is unpardonable,” Fernando Hicap, chairperson of Pamalakaya argued.

The fisherfolk official recalled that late last year, another American commissioned war ship docked in Subic Bay in Olongapo, Zambales figured in a dumping incident of toxic wastes, which Malacanang and other environment officials dismissed as non-fatal and not really toxic contrary to previous claims of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) that the liquid wastes released off Subic Bay contained harmful chemicals.

“The politically correct way to stop this grand betrayal of national interest and people’s sovereignty and wholesale destruction of the environment is to abrogate the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and tell the Yankees and terrorists of Washington D.C to go home,” said Hicap.

Pamalakaya and Anakpawis party list lamented that most of the senators and congressmen are not giving premium to various environmental disasters involving America military conducting joint exercises under VFA.

“We have been calling the attention of President Benigno Simeon Aquino III, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte to conduct a national inquiry into many violations involving US troops in the country. We have been telling these top officials of the GPH to rise above the occasion, pursue patriotism and uphold the sovereign rights of more than 90 million Filipinos. Let us remind these officials that Tubataha Reef is part of the country’s national territory and cherished heritage and the incident deserved an outrage in and out of Malacanang and in and out of Congress,” the groups said.

As of yesterday, local authorities said they were trying to determine if the ship caused damage to a marine park in a protected area. The Philippine Navy had announced that the crew of the USS Guardian was working to find out the best method of safely extracting the ship.

Angelique Songco, head of the government’s Protected Area Management Board belied reports that the Tubataha Reef was damaged. She said it was still unclear how much of the reef was damaged.

She said the government imposes a fine of about $300 dollars per square meter (yard) of corals that are damaged.

These U.S. Navy ships have been visiting Philippine ports for refueling, rest and recreation, and joint military exercises as a result of a redeployment of U.S. forces in the Asia-Pacific region.

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