China’s environmental damage cost to West Philippine Sea far greater than onerous loans – fisherfolk group
Manila, Philippines – “The amount that China has caused in its destruction of the West Philippine Sea outweighs the burdensome loans that the Duterte government has been begging from the foreign aggressor,” According to the militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) on Friday, calling the public to charge China an estimated P892.8 billion over the damage it has inflicted on the pristine coral reefs in the entire West Philippine Sea.
China earlier pledged $9 billion or P459 billion in loans and official development assistance to the Philippines. These include the P3.69 billion Chico River Pump Irrigation Project, P12.2 billion New Centennial Water Source-Kaliwa Dam Project, P175.32 billion Philippine National Railways (PNR) South Long-Haul, and the P50.03 billion Subic-Clark Railway. PAMALAKAYA warns of highly dangerous Chinese loans that could lead to China taking over Philippine infrastructures and public utilities.
In its 2016 verdict, the UN-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) confirmed that China is responsible for 99% of the overall damage to coral reefs within the West Philippine Sea that covers 124 square kilometers or 12, 400 hectares.
Given the damaged coral reefs, the fisherfolk group said China is liable to pay the Philippines an amount of P223.2 billion based on the baseline value of P18 million per hectare of damaged coral reefs per year by a Dutch information and analytics company. The group added that if they include the yearly cost since the PCA has released the verdict in 2016, the amount would be quadrupled to P892.8 billion.
“The Philippines will greatly benefit if we would charge China the amount of coral reefs that it destroyed in the West Philippine Sea compared to the unfair loan deals that would put the nation and the people at a disadvantage,”
“Our coral reefs in the West Philippine Sea have dwindled due to Chinese reclamation and destructive harvesting practices, including shallow dredging to extract our precious giant clams. The Filipino people must strongly compel China to pay the Philippines a whopping amount of P892.8 billion for environmental degradation caused by its territorial aggression,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson said in a statement.
(“Di hamak na mas malaki ang makukuha natin kung oobligahin ng ating pamahalaan ang China na bayaran ang sinira nitong coral reefs sa West Philippine Sea, kumpara sa ipapautang nito na malalagay sa disbentahe ang Pilipinas at itatali tayo sa mga di-pantay at pabigat na kasunduan sa China,”)
(Sira na ang coral reefs sa West Philippine Sea dahil sa reklamasyon ng Tsina at mapanirang pangingisda, kabilang ang paghuhukay para kumuha ng taklobo. Kailangang obligahin ng mamamayang Pilipino ang Tsina na bayaran ang Pilipinas ng tumataginding na P892.8 bilyon para sa pagkasira ng kalikasan dulot ng agresyon,”)
The damage created by China in the West Philippine Sea, PAMALAKAYA further added, will have a long-term and strategic negative impact on fish production and livelihood of at least 3 million Filipino fisherfolk and fishworkers in the West Philippine Sea. ###