PH assessing cost of damage caused by China’s reclamation in WPS | Global News
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PH assessing cost of damage caused by China’s reclamation in WPS

/ 05:48 AM March 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines is now assessing the cost of the damage caused by China’s reclamation activities in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) so that it would have data to support its position should it decide to seek compensation, according to Environment Undersecretary Analiza Rebuelta Teh.

“What the government is doing is trying to document the resources that we have so that we can establish the baseline data, and together with that documentation is the valuation of these resources so that we can really know what are the value of those resources,” Teh said on Friday in a Palace forum on marine science research in the West Philippine Sea.

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“Once we know those data, we [will] actually be able to chart the next steps as to the legal actions that may be necessary,” Teh added.

“We cannot just pursue an action without clear evidence that can support our position,” she added.

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Teh said the Philippines should also work with China to protect the marine environment in the West Philippine Sea, which is threatened by climate and ocean change.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration, in a ruling that invalidated Beijing’s sweeping claim over the South China Sea, has already said China had harmed the coral reef environment and violated its obligation to protect fragile ecosystems when it created artificial islands in the disputed waters.

Teh said that even with the territorial dispute and the issue over the damage caused by China, the Philippines should still collaborate with Beijing on the protection of the marine ecosystem.

She said this could also help Philippine efforts to determine the extent of the damage in the area.

“We cannot stop cooperating with an important player or actor in the West Philippine Sea because of that conflict regarding the damages caused. In fact, while we build consensus and cooperation in determining the resources that are in there in the West Philippine Sea, we can be able to really also make them realize, or we can get the benefit of determining the data and then ensure the valuation and determine joint actions with them,” she said.

The ecosystem, she said, does not recognize territorial disputes, so the Philippines should have discussions with China.

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TAGS: Analiza Rebuelta Teh, DENR, maritime dispute, PH-China Relations, West Philippine Sea
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