Don't laud China for restoring what it destroyed, DFA chief says


Posted at Apr 20 2019 02:28 PM

MANILA - China should not be praised for restoring coral reefs it previously destroyed, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr said Saturday.

Beijing is "now the poster boy of environmental restoration" in its recovery work in reefs it "destroyed," said Locsin in reply to a tweet that said the Philippines should stop China from destroying the environment along with an accompanying opinion piece.

"I've heard military men mention that with admiration; like praising the doctor who shot you for taking out the bullet and patching you up," the top diplomat said.

Beijing has begun to do this and he has seen "propaganda lapped up by tree huggers that China is massively restoring the environment they damaged like they are heroes for that," Locsin said in a succeeding tweet to the conversation.

Reports as early as January said China is working to restore the ecosystem of coral reefs in the South China Sea.

Quoting the Ministry of Natural Resources, Hong Kong English-language newspaper South China Morning Post said facilities to protect and recover coral were installed on Fiery Cross, Subi and Mischief reefs, the 3 biggest of China’s seven artificial islands in the Spratly group, and operations began at the start of the year.

Concerns over the marine biodiversity in South China Sea reignited particularly among Filipinos after fishermen claimed corals in Scarborough shoal have been damaged after Chinese vessels mass-harvested giant clams in the resource-rich area.

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) and a group of fisherfolk from Palawan and Zambales have asked the Supreme Court to issue a writ of kalikasan. They accused high-ranking government officials of neglecting their duties under the law to protect the Ayungin (Second Thomas) and Panatag (Scarborough) shoals as well as the Panganiban (Mischief) Reef.