Monday, February 4, 2013

'US assistance to damaged reef not compensation'

From the Philippine Star (Feb 4): 'US assistance to damaged reef not compensation'

The Philippine government clarified today that the assistance that the United States vowed to provide for the rehabilitation of the Tubbataha Reef is on top of the compensation that the Aquino administration will ask following the damage brought by the stuck USS Guardian on the reef.
Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said that the government has yet to determine the amount of fines to be imposed against the USside."That's not compensation, that's assistance. We still have to determine the amount of fines that are going to be imposed based on a final assessment on the damage caused to the reef and that has not been done yet," he said.

A statement from the US Embassy in Manila said that America, through the US Agency for International Development's (USAID) Coral Triangle Support Partnership, will provide $100,000 to a Philippine university to support coral restoration research at Tubbataha Reef in Sulu Sea.

Lacierda said that Malacanang, the presidential palace, has seen the US commitment to preserve the World Heritage site.

He said that Filipino divers will continue to conduct assessments to determine the extent of the damage made by the minesweeper.

"The final measurement of the extent of the damage will be done after the ship has been extricated," he said.

The USS Guardian has been stuck in the reef since it ran aground on Jan. 17. Philippine and US authorities have made efforts to remove the ship from the area.

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