Higher fines pushed for damage to Tubbataha

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POWERLESS. Giant waves batter the USS Guardian, a minesweeper that ran aground in the Tubbataha Reefs in the Sulu Sea, tossing the ship some 90 degrees from its position on Thursday (inset) and making it parallel to the reef line. The photographs are courtesy of the AFP FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – Senatorial candidates Ernesto Maceda and Loren Legarda said Wednesday that they wanted higher fines for damages caused to Tubbataha Reef so that it could serve as a deterrent to all ships.

A US Navy minesweeper was grounded on the Unesco World Heritage site in the Sulu Sea damaging more than 2,000 square meters of corals before it was cut into pieces and removed.

The Philippines is asking for $600 or P24,000 per square meter of damaged reef in accordance with Republic Act 10067 or the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park Act of 2009, for a total of $1.4 million or P60 million.

“[We should] increase the fines for the Tubbataha [to] P1 billion,” Maceda said during the first Philippine Daily Inquirer Senate Forum in the University of the Philippine Film Center Wednesday.

“That [way] it can become a deterrent factor [and other ships] will really be careful,” he said.

On Monday night, a Chinese fishing vessel was grounded in another part of the reef. The crew was detained while the ship has yet to be removed.

Legarda, who is running for reelection, said she was also in favor of imposing higher fines for violators.

“The calculation [for the fines] on Tubbataha may be correct but it is not enough to make up for the damage caused on the reef,” Legarda said.

She also said that the perception that a grounded ship on a Unesco world heritage site was far from the gut, was not true.

It affects food security because the reefs are home to fishes, Legarda said. The loss of fishes homes will mean less catch for fishermen and will end up less food, she added.

“If we will allow a slap on the wrist only, ships will be grounded again and again,” Legarda said.

The Chinese vessel is suspected of illegal fishing and poaching since it was found out that they did not have a permit to enter Philippine waters.

For more on the forum, log on to http://www.inquirer.net/philippine-election-2013, on http://live.inquirer.net/?p=36; and on Facebook and Twitter.

Inquirer will hold two other fora on April 18 in Baguio and on April 26 in Cebu.

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  • DGuardian

    Dapat ay taasan ang bayad ng mga Chinese poachers na ito. Mas maganda na gawing doble o triple ng !.4 million dollars ang hingin na bayad sa pagwasak nila sa Tubbataha Reefs para madala na sila at huwag nang bumalik pa sa Tubbataha. Tiyak na may basbas ng Tsina ang ang pagpasok ng fishing boat hanggang malapit sa atoll. Sobra-sobra ang inggit ng Tsina sa natatangi at kakaibang mga corals, endangered species, at iba pang yamang dagat ng Pilipinas kaya’t gusto nitong gibain ang Tubbataha. Maaari rin na nililibang ng Tsina ang Pilipinas at may binabalak itong gawin sa Panatag Shoal at sa Spratlys. Bantayan sanang maigi ng Philippine Navy at Coast Guard ang mga ito. Baka nagtatayo na ng mga istraktura sa Panatag Shoal at nang-agaw na naman ng isla natin sa Spratlys ang Tsina tulad ng pag-agaw nila noong 1990s sa Mischief Reef. O baka nagdi-drill na sila doon for oil.

    Dapat ay nonbailable ang kaso dahil tiyak na tatakas ang mga Chinese. Dapat ay ikulong sila na 30 taon para huwag silang pamarisan at para hindi na sila makapagbalik-balik pa sa Pilipinas. Sila ang nagnanakaw sa ating mga corals, sea turtles, giant clams, at iba pang endangered species. Kailangan silang ikulong nang mahabang panahon at pagbayarin ng daang milyong piso kapag nahuli sila sa anumang parte ng ating karagatan at hindi lamang sa Tubbataha.

  • ladyganda77

    “The calculation [for the fines] on Tubbataha may be correct but it is
    not enough to make up for the damage caused on the reef,”Thats true,daang taon nang kailangan para bumalik sa dati ang ganda ng nasirang yaman dagat.

  • denniskamatis

    TAMA SI SENATOR LEGARDA,DAPAT TALAGANG MAGBAYAD ANG MGA AMERIKANO NG MALAKI,ISANG NATIONAL TREASURE ANG NASIRA NILA

  • risamyloves

    Yung ibabayad ng mga kano,ipantustos sa mga mangingisdang nawalan ng kabuhayan dahil sa nangyari…..

  • doctorjulius

    tunay na environmentalist talaga si Loren,may malasakit sa kalikasan

    • monigold

      oo nga e,siya lang ang nanindigan na dagdagan ang fine sa tubattaha kahit na kaalyado niya ang Team PNoy,kahit sinasabi ng Malakanyang na sapat na ang 1.4 M dollars

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