DENR says it condemns any activity that leads to coral damage, destruction in West PHL Sea

This handout satellite imagery taken on March 23, 2021 and received on March 25 from Maxar Technologies shows Chinese vessels anchored at the Whitsun Reef, around 320 kilometres (175 nautical miles) west of Bataraza in Palawan. (Photo by Handout / Satellite image ©2021 Maxar Technologies / AFP) /

(Eagle News)–The Department of Environment and Natural Resources said it strongly deplores the conduct of any activity that leads to the damage or destruction of coral reefs in the West Philippine Sea, as the agency expressed readiness to support any legal options the Philippines may pursue in the event of  marine environment  destruction.

The DENR issued the statement after the Philippine military expressed suspicions about  a harvesting of corals by China in Rozul Reef.

The military said it had observed damaged corals in the same during an assessment held after they drove away Chinese vessels  from the area in July.

The Western Command had also noted what it said was the “concerning resurgence” of Chinese fishing vessels in certain parts of the West Philippine Sea.

In its statement, the DENR also drew attention to article 192 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which aims to protect and preserve the ocean, joining the call for signatory states to adhere to the same.

The DENR emphasized that the  ocean regulates the world’s climate, “and it is the source of livelihood, food security, and cultural identity of all coastal states.”

Coral reefs, it said, “are an integral part of the beneficial functioning of the marine environment.”

“Harmful human interference, such as the destruction and illegal exploitation of any part of our marine ecosystem is a loss, not only to our country but to our region and to the world,” it said.

“DENR understands that the concerned government agencies are exploring the legal options that the country may pursue. The DENR is ready support and be guided by them on these matters,” it added.