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Coral dumping linked to China

Charles Dantes

PCG warns actions may be part of Beijing’s WPS construction plan

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) expressed concern on Saturday over the dumping of crushed corals near Escoda (Sabina) Shoal, raising the possibility of a link to China’s potential construction plans in the West Philippine Sea.

PCG spokesperson for the West Philippine Sea Commodore Jay Tarriela made this statement while reporting that more than 30 Chinese militia boats, along with China’s research ships, Navy vessels, and a helicopter, were spotted near Escoda Shoal.

“These are also the Chinese maritime militia vessels that we have seen in the area of Escoda Shoal. Approximately, more than 30 Chinese maritime militia who swarmed here are not leaving and the Philippine Coast Guard continues to document in case they have activities.,” Tarriela said in a Saturday news forum in Quezon City.

Tarriela mentioned research by University of the Philippines (UP) marine scientists led by Dr. Jonathan Anticamara, showing that sandbars at Sandy Cay were growing bigger.

However, Tarriela stressed that at Escoda Shoal, these activities are just beginning.

Tarriela pointed out that China uses corals as “pantambak (landfill)” for building islands. “That means they have to kill all the corals, as many corals as possible, for them to use that as a foundation for their island reclamation,” he explained.

“So, if we say that this dumping of coral they did on Sandy Cay has allowed them to expand this land area, surface area as an artificial island then, most likely, if we don’t monitor this and keep an eye on it, we might just be surprised in the coming months that in Sabina Shoal, the islands they made here are also getting bigger,” Tarriela said.

“But again, the other problem here is this: What they use as fill material in these areas are corals. So, that means, they have to kill all the corals as many as possible for them to be able to use that as a foundation for their island reclamation,” he added.

Tarriela further ensured PCG’s continued monitoring of said ships to observe China’s activity in the area.

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