PH to gain from Australia’s P3.6-B maritime fund that covers West PH Sea, says research firm
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines is a “significant beneficiary” in the Australian Embassy’s P3.6 billion Indo-Pacific maritime program investments, which will fund restoration projects in the West Philippine Sea (WPS), among others.
“In all these endeavors, the efforts of the national and international community to secure biodiversity and promote tourism must complement and respect the Philippines’ 2016 arbitral victory,” said the independent research organization Stratbase ADR Institute in a statement on Thursday.
Stratbase ADR Institute President Dindo Manhit was referring to the Philippines’ historic win in 2016, when an international tribunal in The Hague invalidated China’s claim over the WPS in the Philippines’ favor.
He said China’s WPS reclamation projects have caused “irreparable harm to the coral reef ecosystem,” destroying evidence of its natural conditions.
“These unlawful practices are being carried out until the present and continue to cause severe damage to the marine life and ecosystems that make the West Philippine Sea a critical fishing area for the country’s food and economic security,” Manhit added.
Through the regional program, Australian Embassy Deputy Head of Mission Dr. Moya Collett explained his country intends to bolster the Philippines’ efforts toward marine life preservation and stronger disaster resilience.
“The marine environment is under threat from pollution, climate change and over exploitation. And it is more important than ever that we work together to protect it,” said Collet in a forum on marine protection in the WPS organized by Stratbase ADR.