DFA: End all ecologically harmful activities in PH marine environment

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 18) –The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) called for an end to all ecologically harmful activities in the country’s marine environment after reports surfaced of rampant damage to the coral reefs in Rozul Reef and Escoda Shoal, which the military and the coast guard suspect is China’s doing.

“We are seriously concerned about reports of the destruction of corals in Rozul Reef, a maritime feature located in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone,” the DFA said Monday.

“The Philippines has consistently raised the alarm over ecologically harmful activities, conducted by foreign vessels, in our maritime zones, an issue extensively discussed in the 2016 Arbitral Award on the South China Sea.”

From Aug. 9 to Sept. 11, Chinese Maritime Militia vessels were spotted over Rozul Reef, also known as Iroquois Reef, and in Escoda Shoal, or the Sabina Shoal, both of which have seen extensive coral reef damage, the Philippine Coast Guard said.

The agency will bring in experts from the University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute on its next underwater survey to inspect the damaged marine habitats.

READ: PCG to tap marine experts to inspect WPS reefs supposedly damaged by China

“We, therefore, call on everyone concerned to act responsibly and cease all activities that can damage our precious marine environment. The well-being of millions of people who depend on the South China Sea for their livelihood is at stake,” the DFA ended.

Related: China’s suspected damaging of WPS reefs ‘ripe’ for Senate probe – Hontiveros

With reports from CNN Philippines' correspondent Tristan Nodalo.