Press Release
January 18, 2013

Legarda extremely concerned over ship's damage to Tubbataha

Senator Loren Legarda expressed extreme concern over reports that a foreign ship ran aground on the Tubbataha Reef early Thursday.

"The Tubbataha Reef has been declared a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1993. And in September, the World Future Council even lauded the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park Act for ensuring the effective management of this World Heritage Site. It is severely disheartening to hear that a United States ship ran aground on the Reef and has reportedly caused considerable damage to the corals in the area," she explained.

Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change, reiterated the study by the World Resources Institute entitled Reefs at Risk showing that 85% of the reefs in the Coral Triangle, which covers six countries including the Philippines, are in danger.

"With the available resources at hand, we cannot guard every inch of the entire coast and Philippine territorial waters, but it is alarming that this jewel in our crown on biodiversity conservation efforts can be so easily accessed and damaged this way. We will be monitoring these developments closely to make sure that those who must be held accountable will comply, with possible penalties. Guards patrolling the area should also be sources of vital information," she said.

"Not all may be aware of the implications of coral reef degradation in our daily lives. Beyond aesthetics, corals serve a greater purpose in our marine ecosystems, because without them, marine species would practically be homeless. This incident should raise awareness about the status of our reefs and what else we can do to conserve them," Legarda concluded.***

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