US government paying P87 million for Tubbataha damage

United States government will pay PhP87 million as compensation to the damage at Tubbataha Reefs done by USS Guardian (MCM-5), an Avenger-class mine countermeasures ship of US Navy, after grounding at the Natural Park.

Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park is a protected area and listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site. Around 2,345.67 square meters of reefs were damaged during the January 17, 2013 incident. US Navy decided to cut USS Guardian into three before the removal to avoid further damage.

“We welcome that. The amount after all is being requested more for regular monitoring of the damaged area to make sure it recovers naturally, and not for active restoration which is not necessary in Tubbataha,” said Mundita Lim, Director of DENR’s Biodiversity Management Bureau. “So for now, the amount seems sufficient for the identified purpose, and augments already existing efforts in the area. We just need to make sure the full amount is spent fully for the intended activities for the protection of Tubbataha.”

Philippine government officials confirmed that US and PHL are now on documentation and finalization phase.

“I received correspondence just yesterday that the US has agreed to pay the compensation and what is being done at this time is that the documentation is being prepared,” Foreign Affairs Albert del Rosario told Senator Legarda during a budget hearing last Friday.