Destruction at Rozul Reef, Escoda Shoal troubling: US ambassador


Posted at Sep 19 2023 10:38 AM

Watch more News on iWantTFC

MANILA — Destruction of the seabed at Rozul Reef and Escoda Shoal in the West Philippine Sea documented by Philippine security forces is troubling, US Ambassador MaryKay Carlson said Tuesday.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines over the weekend said it had seen the effects of coral harvesting in Rozul Reef that left the seabed barren. The Philippine Coast Guard on Monday backed the military's report, adding it saw similar ecological damage at Escoda Shoal.

"Troubling [Philippine Coast Guard] and [AFP Western Command] on coral destruction around Rozul Reef and Escoda Shoal," Carlson said in a post on X. 

"Habitat damage harms ecosystems and negatively affects lives and livelihoods," she also said.

"We are working with our #FriendsPartnersAllies to protect [Philippine] natural resources," she said in the same post.

The AFP and Coast Guard documented the destruction at the West Philippine Sea features after dozens of Chinese Maritime Militia vessels were seen and driven away from the area.


The US this month turned over a P250-million training facility in Bulacan to the Coast Guard, where personnel would be taught navigation, law enforcement and ship maintenance.

Part of an assistance package announced in a White House fact sheet in May was the transfer of former US Coast Guard patrol boats to the Philippine military. 

The US is also "expanding cooperation among our coast guards to better address the challenges posed by illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing and other unlawful maritime activities," the White House said then.

The US Agency for International Development in May announced P240 million in support to civil society-led biodiversity and climate projects.

The US also convened a summit in March for civil society organizations working in marine biodiversity and protection in areas facing the South China Sea.


In an interview on TeleRadyo Serbisyo on Monday, Commander Ariel Joseph Coloma, spokesperson of the Western Command, said while the security sector wants to maintain Philippine presence inside its exclusive economic zone, there are not enough resources to do so.

"We have to manage our law enforcement platforms at kailangan din planuhin ang pag-ikot at pag-patrolya dyan sa ating napakalawak na nasasakupan sa West Philippine Sea," he said.

(We have to manage our law enforcement platforms and patrols in the vast West Philippine Sea have to be planned.)