PH soon to get P87M from US for damage to Tubbataha Reefs
MANILA, Philippines—The P87 million payment of the United States for the damage caused by its Navy ship to the Tubbataha Reefs off Palawan is now on its “documentation stage,” a Palace official said.
Presidential Communications Operations Office head Herminio Coloma Jr. said Saturday that the government is now finalizing the documents needed for the appropriate compensation.
“According to the statement of the Department of Foreign Affairs, it is now on the documentation stage,” Coloma said on state-run radio.
He said the P87-million damage compensation for the Tubbataha was the amount sought by the Philippines.
“Let us wait for the documentation and finalization,” he said.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario on Friday said the US has agreed to pay the compensation and that the documentation was being prepared.
US Ambassador Philip Goldberg, however, said on Friday that Washington and Manila were yet to conclude their talks on the issue of compensation.
“We’ve got an offer and we’re very near a conclusion to it,” Goldberg said.
In January 2013, the minesweeper ship USS Guardian ran aground on the south atoll of the Tubbataha Reefs, a delicate ecosystem treasured for its rich marine biodiversity.
The grounding damaged 2,345 square meters of coral on the reefs, considered a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
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