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LinkAsia | May 17
Taiwan is demanding justice from the Philippines, after the Filipino coast guard shot and killed a Taiwanese fisherman in disputed waters that both...
Moving on to Southeast Asia, the United States is in hot water with the Philippines. Last month, a minesweeper, the USS Guardian, ran aground on Tubbataha Reef. The impact was so severe the ship can't get off. It's stuck. And the Navy's going to have to dismantle it piece by piece. Besides the embarrassment and the environmental impact, there are political consequences. Here's Noel Tarrazona.
Located just 98 nautical miles away from Puerto Princesa, its nearest city, Tubbataha Reef was named by UNCESCO as the only World Maritime Heritage in Southeast Asia. Known for its biodiversity, Tubbataha is one of the country's oldest ecosystems and as a protected marine area, it is off limit to ships. Local Filipino netizens fear their food supply will be threatened.
One net user wrote:
"Remember the Coral Reef is the breeding grounds for fish stocks supplying Visayas and Mindanao. The destruction of these corals will undoubtedly affect the supply."
This net user wrote:
"The Reef is not similar to a building that can be damaged and repaired. The reef was formed by Mother Nature, hence no human can ever create a reef using modern technology."
Another post read:
"The commanding officer of the USS Guardian should be Court Marshalled or discharged from (the) service without pension."
Moreover, left leaning users believed that the US navy has other intentions around the reef that the public does not know.
This net user said:
"The government is allowing US naval presence to balance the Chinese naval presence in our waters."
But for some net users, the Philippines needs the US government to address China's growing military aggression in the West Philippines Sea.
This net user wrote:
"The reason the US is here is because the Philippines asked for their help."
A pro-US military net user also added:
"The US is just waiting for China to make a mistake and then boomm! China will get destroyed. China should show restraint and should not be overly confident of its current military power."
The Philippines is presently at a crossroads. While it looks at the United States as an ally to help defend the Philippines from China, some groups are asking for the abolition of the Visiting Forces Agreement after the Tubbataha Reef accident. In Mindanao, I•m Noel Tarrazona for LinkAsia.
Filipinos don't have the best record for protecting the nation's reefs. As of 2010, only one percent of Philippine coral reefs were in perfect condition.