Zubiri to China: Stop destruction of marine resources in WPS
MANILA, Philippines — Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri on Monday cried foul over China’s alleged harvesting of coral reefs in Rozul Reef and appealed to the Chinese Embassy in Manila to stop the wanton destruction of marine resources in the West Philippine Sea.
“I hope our friends at the Chinese Embassy are listening. They should protect our natural resources. We allow them for freedom of navigation, but if they destroy those coral reefs and wanton harvest of our marine resources, I think that’s foul,” said Zubiri in English and Filipino.
Zubiri emphasized that if China can’t respect the arbitral ruling, they should at least respect Philippine marine resources, stressing that these are “very rare.”
“You know those coral reefs, it takes hundreds of years to create, to build. That is God’s gift to human beings. That is the breeding ground of our fish,” he pointed out.
To ensure that Philippine waters are guarded, Zubiri said he already discussed, along with Senators Loren Legarda and Sonny Angara, as well as Environment Secretary Maria Antonio Yulo-Loyzaga, the proposed establishment of marine ranger stations.
“We will put a ranger station there so that it can be properly guarded. Because if not, our fishermen will suffer. It’s going to be a food security issue, we will lose fish in these areas,” said Zubiri.
According to Zubiri, at least P600 million is needed to build marine ranger stations in various corners of the Philippines, including the West Philippine Sea.
“We will be having one off the coast of Pangasinan, we will have one off the coast of Palawan as well. These are the marine ranger stations that will watch over our ocean,” he added.
In a separate interview, Senator Ronald dela Rosa admitted that there’s no way to stop China but to use force.
He, however, stressed that the Philippines cannot afford to do that at the time being.
“To stop them, there’s no way there’s no way [but] to use force. That we cannot afford for the time being, so at least we can expose what they are doing to the whole world,” said dela Rosa.