MANILA, Philippines–Amidst reports that a Chinese fishing vessel had run aground in Tubbataha
Reef, Team PNoy senatorial bet Jamby Madrigal on Tuesday called for tighter security measures around the Unesco World Heritage site.
Madrigal, principal author of the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park Act of 2009, said in a statement issued to media that Philippine naval authorities should exert serious efforts in guarding restricted zones, apprehending intruders and imposing stiff penalties – including possible jail time – against offenders.
“This latest incident shows how vulnerable our marine resources are to man-made mishaps. We need to find better ways of protecting our precious reefs. It’s obvious what the Chinese were doing there – they’re fishing in
restricted waters,” she stressed.
Earlier, Madgrigal described as “loose change” the US$1.4-million that the Philippine government will charge the United States for the recent grounding of US minesweeper USS Guardian also in Tubbataha reef, damaging over 2,000 square meters of corals.
“We have yet to fully assess the damage caused by USS Guardian and here we are again. It’s a wake up call for authorities to save Tubbataha from further intrusions,” she stressed.