Tubbataha Reef - Raped by Chinese Poachers, Pimped by Phil. DOJ
- "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
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...
Kabang Kalikasan ng Pilipinas
LBI Building 57 Kalayaan Avenue
Diliman, Quezon City 1101
Tel: +63 2 433 3220 to 22
Fax: +63 2 426 3927