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Reject Kerry offer of Tubbataha “compensation” to evade legal obligations

By CPP Information Bureau

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) today urged the Filipino people to reject the “compensation” offer made yesterday by newly appointed US Secretary of State John Kerry supposedly to help the rehabilitation of the Tubbataha Reefs damaged by the grounding of the US warship USS Guardian. The offer was made by Kerry in a telephone conversation with Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto del Rosario yesterday.

“Such an offer of compensation should be rejected by the Filipino people because it is being made to evade responsibility and paying the necessary fines under local and international laws,” pointed by the CPP.

Last January 17, the USS Guardian entered the Tubbataha Reefs unauthorized and in violation of laws prohibiting the entry of large sea vessels in the protected wildlife area. US soldiers aboard subsequently took battle positions and directed their firearms at Philippine park rangers who approached the grounded US vessel to prevent them from boarding the ship.

“The US offer of compensation and refusal to face responsibility for violations of Philippine laws is an insult to the Filipino people and is a grave affront to Philippine sovereignty,” said the CPP. It pointed out that the crew of the USS Guardian was hastily flown by the US military out of the Philippines to avoid having to surrender them to Philippine authorities.

“No amount of ‘compensation’ for damages to the reefs is enough if this will mean swallowing our national dignity and setting aside our claims of sovereignty,” added the CPP.

“The Aquino regime must be condemned for its treachery in allowing the US government to cirumvent Philippine laws and refusing to press charges against the US military for violations of Philippine laws,” said the CPP. “Aquino’s foreign affairs officials have gone to the extent of issuing warnings against government officials to stop talking about the imposition of fines on the US government as this might cause the US to ‘harden’ its stand and withdraw its offer of compensation altogether.”

Earlier, Aquino himself has expressed openness to the idea of allowing the US military to deploy supposed “peace corps”-like volunteers around the Tubbataha in line with the the US compensation package.

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