Compel China to pay for damages in the West Philippine Sea – fishers to gov’t

Compel China to pay for damages in the West Philippine Sea – fishers to gov’t

Manila, Philippines – The national fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) on Friday urged the Philippine government to charge China over the damage it has inflicted on the pristine coral reefs in the entire West Philippine Sea.

The call from the fishers’ group was after the claim of a marine biologist that China is responsible for most of the damage dealt to the coral reefs in the West Philippine Sea due to reclamation and other destructive fishing practices.

To recall, the United Nations-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in its 2016 verdict had 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 deteriorated to an all-time low courtesy of 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.

The fishefolk leader also related Chinese aggression in the country’s territories as basis for the recent survey where China had a bad net trust of -33 from the Filipino people. Thus, he slammed President Rodrigo Duterte’s pronouncement that it believes that the people will eventually appreciate the Asian economic superpower.

“The only ones who believe that the perpetrators will be appreciated by the victims of violation of national sovereignty, territorial integrity and plunder are traitors. Duterte should be conscientious of his words as he only exposes himself as a spineless lackey of China,” he ended. ###

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