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Tubbataha Reef - Raped by Chinese Poachers, Pimped by Phil. DOJ

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  • renes_who
    The life that thrives within and around Tubbataha Reef is so precious to the Philippines and to the entire world, that its conservation is no longer a choice
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 5, 2002
      "The life that thrives within and around Tubbataha
      Reef is so precious to the Philippines and to the
      entire world, that its conservation is no longer a
      choice but an imperative".

      TUBBATAHA REEF NATIONAL MARINE PARK IS A
      UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE.

      TUBBATAHA REEF NATIONAL MARINE PARK IS ONE OF THE
      TOP 10 HOTSPOTS OF MARINE BIO-DIVERSITY.

      Dear Friends and Acquaintances,

      I am deeply saddened by the news that the chinese
      poachers caught 8 months ago within the waters of
      Tubbataha Reef National Marine Park are being released
      practically unpunished. Some of these poachers have
      been caught twice before. Hundreds of sharks and
      endangered turtles were found dead in their possession
      including clam meats and other fishes.

      I have included the press release from WWF-
      Philippines about this complete disregard. It is bad
      enough that foreigners continue to ignore our laws,
      but the government (DOJ) is now encouraging such
      activities with this decision.

      *************************************

      Reduced Sentences Shortchange Filipinos
      Oct. 3, 2002


      Earlier today, the Palawan court issued an order to
      release the 120 Chinese fishermen found poaching in
      Philippine waters eight months ago. While preparations
      for a farewell party at the Palawan Provincial Jail
      are underway, prosecutors who have been working night
      and day to see that justice is served are dismayed and
      saddened at the outcome.

      Reports in Palawan local news say Department of
      Justice Secretary Hernando Perez himself signed an
      order to release the Chinese, after the much
      publicized " amicable settlement " between him and
      Chinese Ambassador Wang Chun Gui. The order apparently
      states that there is no legal basis for the Philippine
      government to continue holding the accused parties. In
      addition, the order agrees to a lesser sentence for
      the Chinese ­ a sentence which many Palaweños agree
      isn¹t enough payment for their crimes.

      Under Philippine law, criminal acts such as those
      committed by the Chinese carry heavy consequences.
      Poaching alone carries a fine of USD100,000.00 while
      possesion of endangered species is equivalent to 12-27
      years imprisonment and an additional Php120,000.00
      fine.

      The Chinese are being released after paying only
      USD50,000.00 and serving 8 months of imprisonment.

      Pleas by the Palawan Council for Sustainable
      Development (PCSD) opposing the reduced sentences were
      dismissed, because "the Court did not recognize the
      (PCSD¹s) legal standing to represent the offended
      party." Atty Adelle Villena of the PCSD explains,
      "According to the Department of Justice (DOJ), only
      the DOJ prosecutors have the right to represent the
      people of the Philippine Republic. But we must
      question this. After their actions today, can we truly
      believe that the DOJ will really represent the best
      interests of the Filipino people? This is a question
      that we plan to pursue in the Supreme Court."

      As of this writing, members of law enforcement teams
      who helped in the apprehension of the Chinese in
      Palawan and Tubbataha are disappointed and frustrated
      by the national government. Much of the public
      sentiment in Palawan is that the national government
      itself has sold off their efforts in exchange for
      foreign favors. "Binarat tayo ng gobyerno natin. Imbis
      na tumulong sa atin, sila pa ang naging sagabal.
      Malaking dagok ito sa mga law enforcers natin. (Our
      own national government shortchanged us. Instead of
      helping us, they became the obstacle. This is a big
      blow to our law enforcers.)", says Atty. Norwin Abes
      of WWF-Philippines, Palawan.

      In cases of environmental crimes, the offended party
      will always be the Filipino people, their children,
      and their children's children. WWF-Philippines, the
      conservation organization, agrees that allowing the
      Chinese to go without making them pay for their
      atrocities against the Philippine environment is a
      travesty against the Philippine Republic and the laws
      it must uphold to protect its people.

      For more information please contact Ina Pozon at
      433-3220 or ipozon@w...

      ------------------------------
      Ina Pozon
      Communications Officer
      WWF-Philippines
      Kabang Kalikasan ng Pilipinas
      LBI Building 57 Kalayaan Avenue
      Diliman, Quezon City 1101
      Philippines
      Tel: +63 2 433 3220 to 22
      Fax: +63 2 426 3927
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