MANILA, Philippines -- Malacanang insists accountability will be ensured for the damage done to the Tubbataha Reef.
Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio "Sonny" Coloma Jr. stressed that the government will adopt measures to prevent a repeat of the incident last January 17 when the USS Guardian, a US Navy minesweeper, run aground at the Tubbataha Reef.
"We maintain that there must be accountability and we will enforce our existing laws,” he said.
Salvage teams were able to finally extricate the last piece of the minesweeper, while an all-Filipino team is getting ready to assess the damage.
Initial estimates show the US Navy owes the Philippines at least P200 million.
The assessment team is composed of Tubbataha Management Office park superintendent Angelique Songco; Dr. Maricor Soriano from the National Institute of Physics; World Wide Fund for Nature-Philippines Tubbataha Reefs project manager Marivel Dygico; Dr. Wilfredo Licuanan, Dr. Cesar Villanoy, Miledel Quibilan, Patrick Cabaitan, Narida Eznairah and Norievill España from University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute; and November Romena and Elsa Furio from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources.