Senate urged to probe China’s alleged harvesting of corals in Rozul Reef
MANILA, Philippines — Opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros on Monday called for a senate probe into China’s alleged harvesting of corals in Rozul Reef.
“Thanks to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for revealing this. I think it deserves an investigation and let’s add it to our long list of China’s debt to our country,” said Hontiveros in Filipino in an interview over ANC.
“They also dredged our seafloor to invent their artificial islands [and] militarize them within the West Philippine Sea and our exclusive economic zone to claim that [it] is their territory,” she added.
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The senator recalled it wouldn’t have been the first time that China has done environmental degradation in West Philippine Sea.
In 2020, Hontiveros had urged Philippine government to make China pay for damaging the country’s reefs.
Meanwhile, in a separate interview, Senator Francis Tolentino said he is saddened by China’s alleged harvesting of corals.
He suspects it might be a prelude to reclamation.
“May iba pang plano siguro po riyan. Di lang ‘yong pagkuha ng corals at pagdurog nito. Iyong pagpatay kasi ng corals ay prelude sa isang bagay— pag pinatay mo iyon, pwede ka nang mag-reclaim,” said Tolentino over Unang Hirit.
(Maybe there is another plan, not just taking corals and crushing them. Killing the corals is a prelude to one thing — if you kill it, you can already reclaim it.)
Tolentino added that if Philippines is going to file claims and damages, it should be in a tribunal recognized by United Nations and United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
The lawmaker heads Senate special committee on maritime and admiralty zones.
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