Talks on payment for Tubbataha Reefs damage suspended
MANILA, Philippines – Negotiations on the compensation for the damage wrought by a United States Navy ship to the Tubbataha Reefs have been suspended as a case is pending before the Supreme Court (SC), the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Monday.
“We held off further discussion of this because of the case filed with the SC. Until this case is resolved we will not make further comments,” DFA spokesman Raul Hernandez told reporters in a press briefing.
The National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers filed in April 2013 a petition for a writ of kalikasan (nature) before the SC after the USS Guardian ran aground on an atoll in the Tubbataha Reefs.
The Tubbataha Management Office slapped a fine of P58.3 million on the US Government for the damage done to 2,300 square meters of coral reef which is a protected World Heritage Site.
Lawyer Edre Olalia said in a recent report that they filed for a case with the SC to ask for a higher fine.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said that no fine has been paid by the US government.
“We have not continued on with the discussion on this because of the SC case,” Hernandez said.
After the grounding, the USS Guardian had to be cut into pieces to remove it from the reef. The process took up to ten weeks.
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