WATCH: PCG shows severe damage in Rozul Reef, Escoda Shoal in WPS
MANILA, Philippines — Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on Monday released a video confirming and exposing the extent of what it called “severe damage” inflicted on the marine environment and coral reef in Rozul Reef and Escoda Shoal in West Philippine Sea (WPS).
According to PCG Spokesperson for the WPS Commodore Jay Tarriela, they monitored approximately 33 and 15 Chinese maritime militia (CMM) vessels in these areas from August 9 to September 11.
During the same period, the agency carried out underwater survey missions and maritime patrols, which “further validated the presence of the CMMs.”
“The results of these surveys showed that the marine ecosystem in the subject WPS features appeared lifeless, with minimal to no signs of life,” Tarriela said in a statement.
The surveys conducted in Escoda Shoal revealed visible discoloration of its seabed, strongly indicating that deliberate activities may have been undertaken to modify the natural topography of its underwater terrain,” he noted.
As seen in the video, the presence of crushed corals could mean “a potential act of dumping, possibly involving the same dead corals that were previously processed and cleaned before being returned to the seabed,” he explained.
Tarriela likewise pointed out the continued swarming and intrusion of CMMs in Rozul Reef and Escoda Shoal “may have directly caused the degradation and destruction of the marine environment” in these sites.