Quantcast
Latest Stories

Unesco willing to assess Tubbataha reef damage

By

REEFS ON THE ROCKS A diver observes a sleeping shark on a ledge at the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park. Made up of two atolls, Tubbataha’s vertiginous walls are home to 12 species of sharks. Overfished because of the sharks’ valuable fins, Tubbataha offers one of the last guaranteed shark dives in the world. Although protected year-round by armed rangers who are stationed in two-month shifts, the reefs were defenseless against the rude intrusion of a US minesweeper three days ago when it ran aground in the Unesco-named World Heritage Site. YVETTE LEE/CONTRIBUTOR

MANILA, Philippines—The Paris-based United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) has expressed willingness to send a team of experts to the Tubbataha Reef to assess the damage caused by the grounding of a US Navy minesweeper in the Philippine marine park  which the UN agency declared a World Heritage Site in December 1993.

The information was relayed to the Inquirer on Thursday by Cecile Guidote-Alvarez, director of the Unesco Dream Center in Manila who is also the wife of Heherson Alvarez of the Climate Change Commission, an agency attached to the Office of the President.

In an e-mail, Alvarez said she had just talked with Dr. Hubert Gijzen, Unesco science bureau chief for the Asia-Pacific region, on the phone.

“They will send a team of experts for a mission to Tubbataha upon formal request by Philippine authorities,” she said.

Gijzen was apparently responding to Heherson Alvarez’ call for Unesco to conduct an “indepedent assessment” of the damage caused by the USS Guardian on Tubbataha Reef, located 98 nautical miles southeast of Puerto Princesa City, capital of the island-province of Palawan.

The reef is home to hundreds of species of marine life and serves as a nesting place for birds and marine turtles, among others.

The US Navy ship has damaged at least 1,000 square meters of the reef, according to the Philippine Coast Guard.

In a statement last week, Heherson Alvarez said Unesco “would be in the best position to estimate the required amount for the total recovery of the damaged reef and the amount of work and time this will involve” and that it had the resources and the expertise for that kind of work.

In a related development, the Unesco’s World Heritage Centre (WHC) in Paris has expressed serious concern over the USS Guardian’s grounding on Tubbataha Reef, which it called a “tragic incident.”

In a letter to Philippine Ambassador to France Cristina Ortega, WHC Director Kishore Rao said they were “very sorry to hear about the tragic incident.”

“We have also been informed that there might be potential damage to the World Heritage property of the Tubbataha Reef National Park, which makes us concerned,” said Rao, adding, “in light of the importance of this issue, I would be grateful if you could send us as soon as possible any relevant information about the incident and its impart on the World Heritage property.”

Rao furnished the Unesco National Commission of the Philippines and its regional office in Jakarta copies of his letter.


Follow Us


Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Environment , Features , Regions , Tubbataha incident , USS Guardian , VFA

  • DakuAkongUtin

    E chopchop pa nila ang barko . What a big mess. Dugong Fil Am daw ang nagmamaneho sa barko kaya  nanahimik ang mga puti , Nagpasikat na magaling mag mamaneho , ayan wasak na ang Tubbthata Reef.

  • http://twitter.com/Joe_The_Kano Joe Kano

    This is wonderful! UNESCO can also help pay for reef restoration.



Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
Advertisement

News

  • Anti-gay demo in Ethiopia cancelled
  • Obama launches measures to support solar energy in US
  • Nebraska toddler gets stuck inside claw machine
  • Philippine eagle rescued by Army turned over to DENR
  • Gunmen attack Iraq military base, kill 10 soldiers
  • Sports

  • Vietnam says it will not host Asian Games
  • Nadal passes clay landmark with 300th victory
  • Wawrinka waltzes through with Monte Carlo walkover
  • Power Pinays smash India in Asian Women’s Club volleyball opener
  • PH youth boxers off to stumbling start in AIBA World tilt
  • Lifestyle

  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • This is not just a farm
  • Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  • Entertainment

  • Cannes film festival launches race for 2014 Palme d’Or
  • Jones, Godard, Cronenberg in competition at Cannes
  • Will Arnett files for divorce from Amy Poehler
  • American rapper cuts own penis, jumps off building
  • Jay Z to bring Made in America music fest to LA
  • Business

  • Total says makes ‘very promising’ oil find off Ivory Coast
  • ‘Chinese Twitter’ firm Weibo to go public in US
  • World stocks subdued, Nikkei flat on profit taking
  • Asia stocks fail to match Wall Street gains
  • Fired Yahoo exec gets $58M for 15 months of work
  • Technology

  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Filipinos #PrayForSouthKorea
  • Taylor Swift tries video blogging, crashes into fan’s bridal shower
  • DOF: Tagaytay, QC best at handling funds
  • Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • Malaysia quarantines 64 villagers over MERS virus
  • DFA: 2 Filipinos survive Korean ferry disaster
  • PH asks airline passengers to check for MERS
  • Syria most dangerous country for journalists, PH 3rd—watchdog
  • Japan says visa-free entry still a plan
  • Marketplace