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Destruction of reef ecosystems in Panatag
« on: July 07, 2019, 12:54:55 AM »
MANILA – Malacañang on Thursday said the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) should validate a reported destruction of reef ecosystems in Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal and Spratly Islands due to China’s reclamation and illegal fishing activities.

“I think this is under Department of Agriculture, kasi iyong Fisheries (BFAR) sa kanya (because BFAR is under DA) – they should conduct a study on that, to validate that particular finding of one particular group,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a Palace briefing.

The University of the Philippines’ Marine Science Institute (UP MSI) reportedly said the Philippines loses about PHP33.1 billion every year due to the damaged coral reefs in the disputed area of the West Philippine Sea.

Panelo said the Philippine government will undertake measures based on its own investigation.

“We will have to make our own study. The specific department concerned with that should conduct an inquiry on that matter and then the government will undertake measures,” he said.

Asked if government is alarmed by the UP marine scientists’ findings, Panelo replied: “We will always be concerned if it affects the security of the state and it affects the general welfare of the people”.

Panelo said the Philippine Coast Guard should also enforce the country laws to prevent poaching activities within the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

“They should know what to do, because they know their duty. We will leave it to them. The Coast Guards have their own specific duty in accordance with law,” Panelo said. (PNA)

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