Solon to Aquino: Make US gov’t pay for Tubbataha tragedy

ANAKPAWIS Partylist Rep. Rafael Mariano today asked the Philippine government to demand the United States government to issue a public apology over the environmental carnage caused by the grounding of USS Guardian in Tubbataha Reefs, a protected marine park recognized by UNESCO.

“US President Barack Obama must apologize for the arrogance and irresponsibility of the US Navy that has caused serious and irreparable damage to the Tubbataha Reefs,” said Mariano.

The Aquino government must do more than inquiries and investigation on the grounding of USS Guardian. The Philippine government must be politically-decisive in making US and Obama administration pay for the damages done by its troops on the Tubbataha Reefs.
The Tubbataha Reefs is recognized as one of the most remarkable reefs and diving site in the world.”

Mariano said the crew of the USS Guardian violated several provisions of Republic Act 10067 or An Act establishing the Tubbataha Reefs as a protected area, particularly Section 19 (Unauthorized Entry); Section 21 (Non-Payment of Conservation Fee; Section 30 (Obstruction of Law Enforcement Officer); Section 20 (Damages to the Reef) and Section 26G (Destroying Resources).
Mariano further said that the P100,000 to P300,000 fine for the US Navy’s illegal entry to the protected marine area is not enough considering the damages to the environment.

“The Obama administration should set aside P 10-billion for future claims of small fisherfolks affected by the long-term and devastating impact of the USS Guardian’s environmental carnage, said Mariano, noting that Tubbataha reefs, Jessie Beazley and Cagayancillo in Palawan are important breeding grounds and key sources of coral and fish larvae, seeding the greater Sulu Sea. Tubbataha Reefs have a decisive role in sustaining the fisheries in surrounding areas that provide food and livelihood for Filipinos.”

“Apart from the legal, criminal and monetary charges that the US Navy must face, the Aquino administration must also demand the US government to pull out all its troops, vessels and military equipment in the Philippines,” Mariano said.

“The government must also seriously consider abrogation of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and other military pacts with Washington D.C. that is being used and abused by the US military,” Mariano said.

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