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Netizens to US: You break it, you fix it

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The USS Guardian, which ran aground Tubbataha Reefs is shown in this Jan. 17, 2013, photo released by the Armed Forces of the Philippines Western Command. Filipino netizens have expressed their lament over the incident, calling on the United States to make amends for the damage to corals. AP PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—As authorities scramble to salvage a US Navy ship from the delicate Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, Filipino netizens have expressed their lament over the incident, noting the protected area’s importance to global marine biodiversity and calling on the United States to make amends for the damage to corals.

Online users have signified their support for a petition calling on US Ambassador Harry Thomas to fund long-term rehabilitation of corals in Tubbataha, an appeal posted last week on Change.org, the world’s largest petition platform.

The petition was posted before the US Embassy announced a plan for long-term support for coral reef preservation in the country as it drew flak for the grounding of the 68-meter USS Guardian in the marine park.

“It will take over two centuries for the reef to be completely repaired and restored to its pristine condition. No amount of money or human intervention can speed that up but there are still ways in order to help Tubbataha. Let us not waste time in figuring out who to blame and why it happened,” the petition said.

Fund for coral research

The US Embassy has said the announcement made over the weekend, which allocated P4.1 million for coral reef research in the Philippines, was not a direct response to the online petition. US officials have expressed regret over the incident.

“I think they shouldn’t just pay the country. They should use their own resources and be the ones who would rehabilitate the damage!” said Audrey Tangonan, a petition supporter from Muntinlupa City.

“Because it is one of the few beautiful things that the Philippines has been proud of and has been taking care of… a careless act such as this cannot be overlooked. Justice must be served,” said Adel Sta. Maria of Quezon City.

US liability for the incident is clear and simple for Makati resident Wendy Liong: “You break it, you fix it.”

The Guardian ran aground in the marine sanctuary, a world heritage site in the Sulu Sea, on Jan. 17, as it sailed to Indonesia following a visit to the Subic Bay in Olongapo City. Stuck for some three weeks now, the minesweeper has damaged some 4,000 square meters of the reef.

‘Rare peacetime loss’

Saying the vessel may no longer be used because of a heavily damaged hull, the US Navy has decided to dismantle the ship and to take it off the reef without causing further damage to the corals.

The US military considers the grounding of the $277-million Guardian a rare peacetime loss of a critical naval asset.

Anjelynmn Guanlao of Muntinlupa City called for accountability over the incident, with the US Navy yet to say whether any official aboard the Guardian at the time of the grounding would be held liable.

“Saying ‘sorry’ won’t heal our environment. Someone should be responsible. I want future generations to still experience the beauty of Tubbataha Reef,” Guanlao said on the petition’s comment thread.

Rehab reasonable payment

Olongapo City’s Joanne Santos said long-term rehabilitation would be “the most reasonable payment” for the US “violation” of the coral reef.

“It’s a sanctuary for marine life and therefore (obviously) should be protected by all means,” Santos said.

The petition of UPMBS, a students’ environmental organization in UP Diliman, seeks US commitment to the long-term rehabilitation of the Tubbataha Reefs.

Nearly 600 supporters from around the Philippines had signed the petition as of press time.

Salvage plan presented

The plan to cut up the Guardian is expected to push ahead this week, as local officials and the management of the marine park are expected to approve the salvage plan presented by US and Coast Guard officials on Tuesday.

“They have presented the salvage plan and it seems quite good,” Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Commandant Rear Adm. Rodolfo Isorena told reporters following a closed-door meeting.

Earlier fears were raised by marine conservation groups concerning the requirement of Smits Borneo, a floating crane, to anchor before it could operate.

Isorena said the PCG had been assured by the crane operator that the vessel would be anchored “at a considerable distance from the reefs to minimize damage.”

“They explained that they will anchor off the reef and the distance of the Smits Borneo will be quite far from the reef,” he said.

Smaller sections

Under the plan, the USS ship Salvor will cut up the Guardian into smaller sections, beginning with the mast and the smokestack, which the Smits Borneo will lift off the water using its cranes.

Isorena said that once the plan was approved by the Tubbataha Management Board, the salvage operation would start right away and was projected to continue until the diving months of April and May.

PCG divers will make a “final assessment” of the damage once the grounded minesweeper is removed from the Philippine marine park, the PCG spokesman said.

Lt. Cmdr. Armand Balilo said that “within the week, PCG divers may check out the reefs anew to find out the extent of the damage.”

“We’re told the ship’s rudder remains stuck (on the southern atoll of Tubbataha). But there’s a chance for our divers to conduct another operation this week. But again, it all depends on the weather. We’re hoping weather will improve,” he said.

Joint statement

In a joint statement, the Philippine and US governments said they had agreed to continue to work closely together as the salvage operation and the investigation into the grounding continued.

“Both governments agree that preventing further damage to the reef is a top priority,” read the statement sent both by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the US Embassy.

The PCG has initiated an “independent inquiry” into the incident through the formation of a Maritime Casualty Investigation Team.

The Philippine government said the investigation “seeks to establish the circumstances and causes of the grounding on Tubbataha Reef and to formulate safety measures to prevent a repetition of this incident.”

The two governments made the announcement following a series of meetings among officials of the DFA, Department of Transportation and Communications, Department of Justice, PCG, US Navy and US Embassy.

In a meeting at the DFA on Monday, the US ambassador “reiterated his regrets over the grounding incident” and said the United States would “provide appropriate compensation” for the damage the Guardian had caused on the reef.

2 diving sites closed

The Tubbataha Management Office, which regulates mostly diving activities in the park during the summer months, said only two dive sites of the 15 identified around the Tubbataha Reefs would be closed.

“We will cordon off the area once diving season starts because we anticipate that divers will want to get as close as they can to the ship,” Isorena said.

So far, American marine biologists who were allowed to assess the damage reportedly placed the affected or damaged coral reef areas to around 4,000 sqm.

Isorena brushed aside demands raised by some conservation groups to just sink the Guardian to minimize reef damage.

“We are presenting the plan to the stakeholders. If they will not agree with the plan, we hope they can present a more viable option. We are open to all suggestions,” Isorena said.—With a report from Jerry E. Esplanada


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Tags: Coral Reefs , environmental issues , Global Nation , Philippines , Social Media , Tubbataha Reefs , US , USS Guardian

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/VUFRGRCCA5JXOLKEVCJQ3FBW3Y Concerned Citizen

     Yahoo News Philppines
    “China one-child policy enforcer runs over baby”AFP News

    search “Death by a Thousand Cuts”

  • DakuAkongUtin

    Since the Tagalegleg Govt of Maynila was responsible for allowing these US navy  ships unfettered access throughout Phil waters , then you fix it with the clear  end that the perpetrators of this trashing be held responsible. Remember the Coral Reef is the breeding grounds for fishstocks supplying Visayas and MIndanao. The destruction of these corals will undoubtedly affect the supply . It also disturb the ecology of these waters .

    • Crazy_horse101010

      i live in a fishing village in the visayas, except there is no more fish. the boats are rotting on shore fish here costs more here than in the city, because fish in this fishing have to be brought from other islands. this disaster has nothing to do with america. it has to do with illegal fishing.flippinos have destroyed their own reefs by blasting them to hell

      • AlexanderAmproz

        Time to time even scuba divers were blasted,
        once at the second I surfaced, it blast just beside me.
        In the village near by, many lost one hand or a foot…

        Below the sea, nothing left thanks the local Major sponsoring Dynamite fishings,
        this happened all over the country.

        Philippines seas are destroyed at 95%, same with the forests.

        This is the result of the Officials and “elites” unlimited greed and abuses, 
        this is the country main sickness with unfathomable consequences on the society with a destroyed future.

        The Nature is the life support, to ravage and pollute it, is to burn the house for ever !
        No prayers will change peoples lack of education and stupidity !

        Philippines future is so slim, it is becoming transparent,
        the usual lies, robbery and killings wouldn’t bring any improvements.

      • Crazy_horse101010

        a couple of years ago they blew up a tourist who was diving. i bet he had more fun. there was a fisherman here who seen a school of fish. he lite the fuse but the fish swam off. he forgot to put the fuse out.he is. not with us anymore. there is a town near by. that makes blasting caps by the thousands. they are not for. construction.  ive.watched illegal fishing going on at the tourist beaches in front of the tourists and hundreds of flippinos but no one seems concerned

      • AlexanderAmproz

        In Mactan 5 Japanese’s were blown up, more recently only 3 !

        it was Lapu-Lapu Major Radazza special welcome for tourists !

        Lampost collections aren’t enough to satisfy his abuses culture !

        The Philippines is all but not a tourists destination !

        Life has no values for those rubbish Trapos,

        in this case rubbish is a compliment for that kind of criminal !

    • pfc_kulapu

      Chita Eh Sta. Romana (aka AFPaki, Inteliling ng 11th IB kuno).
      You are so hypocites, TANDA..
      You even don’t care, what china did in panatag corals and other areas. 
      Tanda Na TANGA…
      Certified Backstabber…
      DAKILANG PATAY GUTOM…
      ako ang langaw sa puwet mo..

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/VUFRGRCCA5JXOLKEVCJQ3FBW3Y Concerned Citizen

    These Filipino Chinese 50 cent trolls are even very proud posting that the Philippines cannot do anything about the Chinese warships that entered the country.  Aside from trying to bring this country closer to hell with their propaganda, they even add the insulting statement below which is a problem in society that must be addressed immediately by the Philippine government.
     
      “That is True in my Country..because i am a Filipino…but unlike you I refused to Pay my Taxes for 15 years already to deprive the Political leaders of money they can corrupt…but you keep on feeding them…Looooser ! ! ! ! !”

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/AIYSIJJOL4JNRLHXVTGUH3NYHM The Overlord

    Mga tsekwa sumugod na sa Inquirer. Kakapal talaga ng mukha. Di naman yan nagbabayad ng taxes. They’re leeches who suck what the government provides pero walang binibigay in return. Mga mongrels kasi. Hindi na nga purong Tsekwa, di pa purong Pinoy. Parang askal lang na palaboy laboy. Walang breed.

    • DakuAkongUtin

       Oplan Overlord, you are wrong in all fronts here. Chinese make the bulk of revenues back to the govt coffers. Its the lowly kayumangmang taxpayers who manipulate their returns and not pay anything. Bakit? Ayaw nyo magbayad kahit singkosentemos ! That is a fact.
      Not only that pinag magik ninyo kasama sa inyong mga anak anakans sa BIR. Kunsabo kayo lalo na magkapareho ang mga family names. Pag intsik ang last names, lumalaway na ang mga BIR and they will squeeze every cent out of the taxpayer.  Walang leeway ang intsik kundi pay their taxes while thieves in BIR and all of Tagalegleg Govt  steal right and left. Chinese pay taxes and Kayumangmangs steal .

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/AIYSIJJOL4JNRLHXVTGUH3NYHM The Overlord

        As if! Communists like yourself are good story benders, right? Keep shouting your rhetorics; no one listens to you anyway. The VFA is here to stay and there’s nothing you chinks can do to repeal it. Sino nga ba ulit ang mga utak ng mga drug syndicates sa bansa? Chinks, Tsekwa, Instik. Hackers and security threat personnel? You can be sure someone from China is behind that. What happened to the Tank Man by the way? As well as all the other political prisoners that the Communist Party of China detained since the 1989 Tiananmen Massacre?

        In fact, you should be ashamed of yourself. You’re not a Han. You’re not purely Malay either. You’re just one of the mongrels and bastards who were products of indiscriminate carnal passion. Poor you.

      • DakuAkongUtin

        Wow, nagmamarunong at nagmamalinis ang kayumangmang.  VFA is a false security your azz. America is in deep shzt dodo mama, okey. THey are in $16 trillion deep hole mama. Their Pentagon is cutting budget here and there . They are strong  no doubt , but can they sustain their shzt military for that long ? China is getting stronger by the day and will remain so .  If they want oil and gas by using Japo and brown pawns in the SOuth China SEa, China is ready to take them out.

        Better you prepare for the final showdown and make sure you hide under miniskirt of Kanos and smell its foul  odor. Good luck and God speed.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/NYKIOQEDTUD4FPPPVHP6XMFNEA Raul

         Some people in China eat dirt as a “famine food.” Analysis of samples of eating soil shows that it contains large amounts of iron, calcium, vanadium, magnesium, manganese and potassium—essential nutrients that are in short supply in times of famine.

         Huangshan Stone Frog is a speciality of Anhui province. The black-skinned frogs found there are quite large and bear quite a bit of meat. The meat is said to have a light, sweet flavor. Frog fat is enjoyed as a desert. Eating frog is supposed to strengthen your bones and improve your eyesight.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/AIYSIJJOL4JNRLHXVTGUH3NYHM The Overlord

        Kung nagka-cut sila ng budget, eh di ano ngayon? Kakarampot lang ng budget ng military ng Pinas compared mo pa sa kung ano ang i-cut ng US sa military nila. Tsaka, treaties, executive agreements and the like are enforceable. It’s written on paper. Kahit ilang military spending cuts pa yan, do you think pababayaan na lang ng US ang kanilang position as the world’s most dominant nation?

        Sure, China’s military is getting stronger, but so what? Baka nakakalimutan mo kung gaano kinamumuhian ang China sa buong mundo. As if naman, you will be welcome in open arms in the PLA kung sasapi ka dun, you pretender! Haha! China’s military might be getting stronger but no way in hell that it would dominate and change the world order. Andami daming safeguards na na-establish na ng US sa UN, NATO, etc. In fact, mas gugustuhin ng iba na makipag-sapi sa Western powers rather than be affiliated with your Commie sh*t.

        Loser Hans resort to hacking para na lang makakuha ng intel. While the Han society is bursting at the seams kasi di na ma-contain ng Great Firewall ang gusto ng mga tao na totoong demokrasya.

        Meanwhile, mongrels and half breeds like yourself have nowhere to place themselves into. Di ka naman tanggap sa China kasi di ka naman purong Han. Tsekwa naman at Instik ang tawag sayo sa Pinas. Worse, isang tingin lang sa inyo, either, sasabihing ang liliit ng maya nyo, mga drug lords, or mga di nagbabayad ng taxes kasi tago ng tago ng illicit items sa Binondo. Naku! San ka na lang lulugar, totoy? Ang hirap ng buhay ng isang bastardo no? Haha! :)

      • DakuAkongUtin

        Wow, nagsasalita ang patay gutom. Chinese are original to Pinas  unlike your monkey genepool coming from Indonesya at Malesya.  

        Kayumangmangs are unggoys, sawa at daga. In english pa ang tawag ay macaques, snakes and rats. All are these describes your predatory tendencies and backstabbing culture. 

        Tagaleglegs who runned this Maynila Govt is corrupt to the core. What else do you expect but corruption from top to bottom ?  Pautots lang ang alam mga ito. Kunwari nagmamalinis pero mangtas pala.   Hahahaha, hindi kayo magsisilbi, doi. Your only savior is to chupapa to Japo small d cks, White and NEgro TTs and beg for mercy when the day arrives.

      • sh1seadad

        How the heIl do you know how it smells under miniskirt of Kano have you ever been there? I don’t think so only in your dreams. You take care of your wife and stop thing about Kano miniskirt

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/AIYSIJJOL4JNRLHXVTGUH3NYHM The Overlord

        [Quoting here because of Disqus Comments Limit]

        “Wow, nagsasalita ang patay gutom. Chinese are original to Pinas  unlike your monkey genepool coming from Indonesya at Malesya.  Kayumangmangs are unggoys, sawa at daga. In english pa ang tawag ay macaques, snakes and rats. All are these describes your predatory tendencies and backstabbing culture. Tagaleglegs who runned this Maynila Govt is corrupt to the core. What else do you expect but corruption from top to bottom ?  Pautots lang ang alam mga ito. Kunwari nagmamalinis pero mangtas pala.   Hahahaha, hindi kayo magsisilbi, doi. Your only savior is to chupapa to Japo small d cks, White and NEgro TTs and beg for mercy when the day arrives.”Indigenous ang mga Han sa Pinas?

        Haha! As if! Your claim is as absurd as your nine-dashed line. Mongrel-Hans like you are so fond of making up stories to suit your delusions. Sige nga, if you’re so disgusted, assuming your baseless claim is true, too bad you got stained by the blood of macaques and rats. Mongrel ka kasi. You’re not pure Han or pure Malay. In short, you’re like one of those failed experiments in a high school Chemistry class that the students chuck to the wastebin kasi walang silbi.

        Yes, it’s true. Maraming corrupt sa bansa. And then, so what? Wala bang corrupt sa China? Hahaha! Magaling lang mag-tago ang state media ng baho ng Communist Party. I’m sure milyong milyon na ang katulad ni Ai Weiwei na either tinorture or pinatay para matago ang baho ng Tsekwa. Kahit nga taga Hong Kong at Macau, ayaw sa Han eh.

        Beg for mercy? As if! Mauuna muna ang second version ng Nanking Massacre bago mangyari yun. Tsaka balikan mo ako dito when China rules the world ha. Siguro, from today, mga 10 million years pa naman ang aabutin ng situation na yun. I’ll be waiting here in the Comments section. :)

  • AlexanderAmproz

    Just few months ago in south Mindanao,
    An equivalent of the all Manila in size of corrals were destroyed by few greedy.
    It was few ten of thousands hectares, who cares, almost none !

    Recently it was impossible to dive without to hear so many “Bangs”,
    This was happening in the main tourists dive spots under Majors watch and profits !

    Now with 50 meters destructions, much less damages than only ONE Dynamite blast !
    With one dynamite blast, damages are total, its kill all, no comparisons with a boat adrift ! 
    It’s a big scandal, its show how foolish peoples are !

    The real and not acceptable scandal is the Pilipino’s Politicians and Officials rabid attitudes towards the Nature, it’s not an accident, its cultural !

    Its not a piece of corral reef, its the all country, no more fishes no more forests,
    almost every rivers and watershed are definitely polluted, what a MADNESS !

    from the South tip of the country to the North, from East to West, more remote you go worst it is !
    Fishermen catch went rom 25 five kilos a day to 1 kilo,
    this is what happened the last 25 years.

    Dynamite fishing is the same as illegal logging, 
    it will stop the day nothing left, this is for tomorrow !

    50 Years from now, only stones and polluted seas will left on the middle of nowhere.

    Today elites can be proud of this Monster Human Made Rubbish, an absolute shame,

    but never saw a Trapos a shame, they are to rude for that !

    Dignity and respect are unknown notions in this Medieval Clergy Paradise

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/VUFRGRCCA5JXOLKEVCJQ3FBW3Y Concerned Citizen

      Dynamite fishing happens I think almost anywhere, even in Cavite, where there are no tourism industries and no marine sanctuaries.  Rubber Tires are the new reefs today. Filipinos have this big problem of not being united on national interests because everybody insists on their own interest always.  Morals and values and history must be emphasized more aggressively in schools, and the media, the government and the churches must support this so that the next generation of Filipinos will act as a nation.

    • Crazy_horse101010

      ita all over cebu and bohol to/ thet even blast in front of resorts in broad daylight. 15 years ago i was in leyte just when they built the new bridge to samar. i wanted to drive across it but i couldnt because the reef fisherman had damaged it so bad they had to rebuild part of it

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

    Reality to knee-jerk netizens: Go play in the middle of EDSA at rush hour.

  • http://joboni96.myopenid.com/ joboni96

    huliin na ang crew at
    kompiskahin ang barko na iyan

    like the poaching intsik switiks

    then pagbayarin ng damages

    to be used for restoration costs by pilipino experts



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