Duterte, China urged to rehabilitate damaged reefs in West PH Sea | Global News
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Duterte, China urged to rehabilitate damaged reefs in West PH Sea

/ 03:47 PM March 22, 2017

Ecological restoration, not infiltration by China, is what the West Philippine Sea needs, according to an environmental group.

Leon Dulce, campaign coordinator of Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE), said coral reefs in the area have been heavily degraded because of Chinese activities.

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“Whether it is a radar base, missile installation, or environmental monitoring station, China’s construction boom across West PH Sea violates our national sovereignty and has clearly caused great harm to vast coral reef ecosystems,” he said in a statement.

BACKSTORY: Environmentalists demand China to stop ‘ecological destruction’ in West PH Sea

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“If Duterte’s pronouncements of an independent foreign policy hold any weight at all, he should deliver on his administration’s promise to file a ‘strong protest’ against China’s construction with specific reference to the continuing destruction of our coral reefs,” he said.

Kalikasan PNE urged the President to take a stronger stance and “relentlessly engage China in bilateral talks to stop its further destruction of the Philippines’ marine natural resources.”

READ: Carpio tells Duterte: Defend PH shoal

At the same time, Dulce said the Duterte government should support the efforts of fisherfolk, scientists and other stakeholders.

“What the West PH Sea badly needs is the ecological restoration of its heavily degraded coral reefs, not the further conversion of its reefs into Chinese maritime bases,” he said.

Foreign Affairs Acting Secretary Enrique Manalo on Wednesday assured the public that the Philippine government is keeping a close watch on the shoal, especially after reports that China is planning to build an environmental monitoring station there.

“While Filipino fisherfolk have finally been allowed by China to access their traditional fishing grounds in West PH Sea, fish stocks will continue to dwindle if the coral reef expanses will remain unrehabilitated,” Dulce said.

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“We are asking for crumbs from the ‘goodwill’ of China when the International Tribunal should have given us a solid foundation to firmly assert our self-determination over our waters whether through diplomatic persuasion or international pressure,” he said. IDL

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TAGS: China, Environment, Kalikasan PNE, Philippines, South China Sea, West Philippines Sea
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