MANILA, Philippines — Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Spokesperson Teresita Daza on Thursday said they are still waiting for the assessment on the environmental damage in Rozul Reef, but that the DFA is ready to support legal actions that the country might pursue against the culprits.
“The DFA understands that the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) is exploring legal options that the country may pursue. The DFA stands ready to contribute to this effort and will be guided by the OSG on these matters,” said Daza in a statement on Thursday evening.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines earlier reported that coral reefs in Rozul reef, where Chinese militia vessels have been seen, have been heavily damaged.
In the same statement, Daza stressed that pursuant to the 2016 Arbitral Award on the South China Sea, all States entering the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone and maritime zones are obliged to preserve and protect the country’s marine environment.
“Article 192 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea [also] obliges States to protect and preserve the marine environment,” she added.
The DFA has also aired its concern over the reported destruction and harvesting of corals in the West Philippine Sea.
The department, however, did not say whether or not a diplomatic protest has been filed.