Navy vessel destroys Sta Cruz corals Print
Friday, 05 May 2017 12:09

Mayor Beng Climaco expressed outrage at the reported destruction of a portion of coral reefs at the Sta. Cruz Island caused by unauthorized anchor of a navy ship loaded with beach goers last weekend.

The mayor has brought the matter to the attention of the Naval Forces Western Mindanao (NAVFORWEM) and former Navy Flag Officer in Command (FOIC) Rear Admiral Alexander Pama stressing that the incident was a clear violation of the Republic Act 7586 otherwise known as the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) Act of 1992.

Per report of the Sta. Cruz Protected Area Management Unit’s marine biologist, the ship anchor incident destroyed at least 10x10 feet of the island’s marine resources, according to the mayor.

The navy boat, named BRP Tausug should be renamed “BRP Destroyer” Climaco said, adding that the boat’s skippers, one named Lt. Darwin Guilliarte and the other one a certain Melad, acted arrogantly and disrespectful to PAMU representatives who called their attention during the incident.

“We are not pleased about the violation and the destruction of coral reefs and disrespect by officials Guillarte and Melad,” the chief executive said stressing that those concerned should be sanctioned, given a reorientation and even be assigned to undertake an environmental rehabilitation program in the area.

Climaco is convening the Protected Area and Eco-tourism Area Management Board (PAEMB) Friday to discuss the issue. She likewise endorsed the written report of PAMU operations chief Richard Aliangan to the City Legal Office and City Admin Office for appropriate action.

As this developed, NAVFORWEM Commandant Rear Admiral Rene Medina in a text message to Mayor Climaco expressed regrets about the incident but said that the case is now under investigation to determine the exact details of the incident. “The Navy, as always, will follow the rule of law in dealing with this matter, and that the responsible will be liable once proven guilty”.

Medina assured that the “Navy does not condone any acts of neglect and indifference towards our natural resources, and that we will always uphold our role as good stewards of the environment.”

The Navforwem chief hoped that the incident will not smear its long-time friendship with its partners in protecting and conserving the coral reefs. (Sheila Covarrubias)