Tolentino wants int’l groups to help PH probe China’s alleged reef destruction in WPS
MANILA, Philippines — A multilateral approach would be much better when evaluating China’s alleged destruction of corals in the West Philippine Sea, said Senator Francis Tolentino on Friday.
Tolentino, chairperson of the Senate Special Committee on Maritime and Admiralty Zones, said it would be better if international communities could help the Philippines investigate China’s suspected destruction of marine resources in Rozul Reef.
“It’s not just our own scientific evaluation, but there has got to be an international sampling and validation of whether there really was discoloration damage that the reefs were pulverized that led to the diminution of fishing grounds in that area,” said Tolentino in an interview over CNN Philippines’ The Source.
Tolentino specifically mentioned that the United Nations “have their own scientific group” that can do this evaluation. He then added that the country may likewise tap private international groups.
“There’s even a council of the international seabed authority, and they have experts here. The more, the better,” said Tolentino.
The senator made these recommendations after he pointed out that the country needs to file a case because “China will only pay” for the suspected damage it caused if there is “conclusive proof shown” to support the allegations.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry earlier denied responsibility for the destruction of marine resources in the Rozul Reef, branding the Philippines’ claims as “political drama.”
Tolentino, however, stressed that this is only part of China’s ways to “evade the issue.”