Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Philippines to pursue compensation from US on reef damage

The Philippine government vowed Wednesday to continue seeking compensation from the United States for the damage caused by its navy ship to parts of a protected marine reserve.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) issued a statement a day after the Supreme Court junked a petition by environmental groups for a writ of kalikasan (nature) against the minesweeper USS Guardian that ran aground in the Tubbataha Reef in January 2013.

"We will continue our ongoing discussions with the US government on the matter of securing full compensation for the damage caused to the Tubbataha Reef, and will be guided by the Supreme Court decision and the advice of the Office of the Solicitor General," the DFA said.

The department said it will also continue to work with other government agencies to enhance navigational safety in the protected marine sanctuary and preserve the reef and its marine environment.

The SC ruled that it has no jurisdiction over the petition filed by several groups calling on the court for the issuance of a writ of kalikasan for possible criminal, civil and administrative prosecution of American Navy officials responsible for the grounding incident.

The high court instead deferred to the executive branch the matter of seeking compensation and rehabilitation of the damaged area of Tubbataha Reef from the US.

Sources: Xinhua -

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