CEBU – The illegal Chinese reclamation at the West Philippine Sea is already costing around $100 million in annual damage to the ecological system in the contested area, according to Dr. Edgardo Gomez, Emeritus Professor of the University of the Philippines – Marine Science Department.
Gomez said there is destruction of the balance of marine ecosystem seen due to the massive reclamation projects of China. He said the over exploitation of endangered species and coral reef ecosystem are among the issues concerning the sustainability of food security in the Philippines, Gomez said.
He said the physical destruction of the marine biodiversity has an impact on climate change and economic productivity of the country. “Coral Reefs provide the most productive ecosystem services, it sustains life. These healthy coral reefs are important for the productivity of neighboring marginal seas and if the Chinese continue to harm these healthy ecosystems,we may lose our ecological biodiversity,” Gomez warned.
Chinese fishermen dominating Bajo de Masinloc near Zambales continue to use destructive method of fishing and have already destroyed a large part of coral reefs in the area. They are also harvesting a massive amount of giant clams which are considered endangered. These giant clams are reportedly used as replacements for ivory to sustain Chinese sculptural industry. Tridachna Gigas are among the true giant clams found on the West Philippine Sea. (Ferliza C. Contratista. With a report from Caren P. Gabisay)
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