Hontiveros calls China to pay environmental damages for its harmful acts in WPS
Hontiveros calls China to pay environmental damages for its harmful acts in WPS
Hontiveros calls China to pay environmental damages for its harmful acts in WPS
by Ellicia Del Mundo20 September 2023
Screengrab from Jay Tarriela video / Twitter

Senator Risa Hontiveros is calling on China to pay the billions of environmental damages it owes the Philippines for causing harm to the marine ecosystem and coral reefs in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

She made the call in her newly filed Senate Resolution No. (SRN) 804 wherein she directed a Senate Committee to conduct inquiry in aid of legislation to the reported massive coral harvesting and destruction discovered at Rozul Reef and Escoda Shoal which are both located within the country's exclusive economic zone.

Citing a study by University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute (UPMSI) Deputy Director Deo Onda, the Senator said the country is losing P33.1 billion each year, or P18 million per hectare damage, due to China's actions.

"The recent destruction wrought upon Rozul Reef and Escada Shoal only adds to the increasing damage caused by unlawful activities in the West Philippine Sea, for which reparations must be sought," Hontiveros added.


On her Facebook page, the Senator said it is the country's right to "pursue all options to make China pay."

"The resolution also states that the government cannot tolerate the continuing harms to the environment, economy, and security brought about by China’s incursions, and must explore available resources to hold China accountable, including a claim for damages to be filed with the Permanent of Court Arbitration," Hontiveros said.

Last September 14, the Armed Forces of the Philippines - Western Command (WESCOM) said the swarming activities by China Fishing Vessels (CFVs) resurged in several locations within the WPS, including Rozul Reef, Sabina Shoal, and Baragatan Bank.


Three days after, AFP - WESCOM Vice Admiral Alberto Carlos reported that the navy's underwater survey had shown that there was a massive coral harvesting in Rozul Reef.

On September 18, Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) spokesperson for WPS Jay Tarriela confirmed that the marine ecosystem and coral reef in Rozul Reef as well as in Escoda Shoal were extensively damaged.

The PCG spox stated that Chinese vessels "may have directly caused the degradation and destruction of the marine environment" given that they continue to conduct "illegal and destructive fishing activities" in the aforementioned areas within the WPS.

Senator Francis 'Tol' Tolentino said earlier that the country can file a case against a foreign perpetrator in the reported massive coral harvesting before three international courts, and receive damages.

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