Senator Risa Hontiveros on Thursday reiterated her call to have the Chinese government pay reparations for the value of the wealth and marine life stolen in the West Philippine Sea due to Beijing’s “adventurism” in the disputed waters.
“Time to pay up,” the senator said, claiming that the total accumulated damages that China should pay now amounted to more than P800 billion.
“Dati nang umayaw ang Chinese Embassy nang naningil tayo ng mahigit sa P200 billion dahil sa paninira ng Tsina sa WPS mula 2013. Pero ngayon, umabot na sa higit walong daang bilyon ang halaga ng paninira nila sa ating likas-yaman, kaya patuloy ang ating pangangalampag, ” Hontiveros said.
The senator cited the P231.7 billion worth of ruined reefs for seven years, as published by the international journal Ecosystem Services last year. The value per coral reef was pegged at P18 million, and this amount was multiplied by 1,850 hectares of reef ecosystems in Panatag and Spratlys that have been damaged by China, she said.
Additionally, there has been a total of P644 billion looted fish catch since 2014, according to recent computations of journalist Jarius Bondoc.
He arrived at the number by multiplying the 1.2 million tons of fish that are usually caught by Chinese vessels in Zamora and Panganiban reefs annually, with Seafdec’s estimated value per ton of fish catch in the South China Sea at P76,710.
Last year, Hontiveros filed Senate Resolution 369 to have China foot the bill of the country’s Covid-19 response by paying the over P200 billion worth of reparations owed to the Philippines due to its activities in the WPS.
She said this amount should now be updated to include the recent computations.
“We cannot take back the marine resources that China has destroyed in the WPS. Habulin natin ang Tsina sa utang nila. Huwag nating sanaying naabswelto na lang sila palagi sa mga pang-aabuso nila sa ating bansa,” she added.
“Hinaharass na nga nila ang ating mga mangingisda, sinisira pa ang ating likas-yaman. Let’s not allow China to get away with this,” Hontiveros said.