The Tubbataha Reefs National Park is one of the country’s beautiful areas. The marine and bird sanctuary in the middle of Sulu Sea, is a 97,030 hectare area that has been declared by the UNESCO as a World Heritage Site for its high density of marine creatures. It is also considered as one of the world’s best dive sites, which is why the local government does its best to care for it.
But in 2013, 2,345.67 square meters of coral reef was damaged when the USS Guardian, a US Navy minesweeper crashed into it. The accident became an international incident, with the US Federal Government charged $1.4 million for the damage. The US government apologized and relieved four officers from duty.
But this week, the matter was finally resolved when the US government paid a total of $1.97 million (P87.03 million) for the damage caused two years ago. The Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) confirmed the news, saying the US paid the full amount.
According to the DFA, the amount will be used to protect and rehabilitate the natural park, and to “further enhance capability to monitor the area and prevent similar incidents in the future.”
In addition to the compensation received, the US government is also providing additional assistance to the Philippine Coast Guard to upgrade the PCG Substation in Tubbataha.
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