Probe set on Navy boat's damage of Sta. Cruz Island reefs

RJ Rosalado, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 05 2017 08:30 PM | Updated as of May 06 2017 11:16 AM

Courtesy: Dr. Michael Macrohon/Zamboanga City government

ZAMBOANGA CITY – Naval forces in Western Mindanao are set to investigate the damage that a Navy boat wrought on coral reefs near Sta. Cruz Island, after it anchored in the protected area.

Investigators have collected the statements of Navy officers in charge of BRP Tausug to explain what happened, said Lieutenant Junior Grade Maycee Angga, spokesperson of the naval forces in Western Mindanao. 

They are also waiting for the statement of officials in charge of Sta. Cruz Island.

Zamboanga City Mayor Beng Climaco-Salazar earlier expressed outrage over the damage sustained by marine resources in the popular tourist destination, which is known for its pink sand.

According to Climaco, the Protected Area Management Unit found that at least 10 by 10 feet of marine resources near Sta. Cruz Island were damaged.

The action of the Navy officials was a violation of Republic Act 7586, or the National Integrated Protected Areas System Act of 1992, said Climaco, as Sta. Cruz Island is a protected area.

The Navy boat supposedly anchored near the island last weekend, carrying beach goers.

Rear Admiral Rene Medina, the commander of the Naval forces in Western Mindanao, expressed regrets over the incident, and promised that erring Navy officials would be held liable.

Probe results will be released next week.