DENR Hit for Tubbataha Silence

Article excerpt

MANILA, Philippines --- An environmental group yesterday criticized the "silence" of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on the environmental impact of USS Guardian in Tubbataha Reef-a known United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site.

Kalikasan national coordinator Clemente Bautista Jr. said "the silence of DENR regarding the Tubbataha incident shows their indifference towards our national patrimony."

DENR Secretary Ramon Paje, who is also a UNESCO National Commission of the Philippines Commissioner, has kept mum on the Tubbataha incident and has "failed to carry the call and demand of the people to make the US Navy accountable," Bautista said.

"It is the responsibility of DENR in behalf of the Philippine government to file a case against the US Navy in the international institution like the United Nations, given that Tubbataha our national treasure is a World Heritage site," he said.

Most of the 80 sailors of the USS Guardian have already returned to their US Sasebo Naval Base in Japan.

Kalikasan also urged the government to conduct a thorough study of the impacts of removing the USS Guardian on the Tubbataha Reef, which could risk more damage to the reef park. …