Senator Risa Hontiveros backed up such claim and said that the environmental damages cost at least some P200 billion. Such bill is due for “at least six year’s” exploitation of disputed marine resources in the West Philippine Sea.
To further nuance her claim, she reinstated the findings of the University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute. The report showed that P33.1 billion is the annual cost of the coral reef destruction in Spratly Islands and Scarborough Shoal.
In a global pandemic, the lady senator stressed that the large amount can help the government fund crisis efforts. More so, this can also help the state subsidize families affected because of the enhanced community quarantine.
Amid turbulent times, Hontiveros believes that, “The government should demand what is rightfully ours…” She reinstated that its beneficence can be felt most right now because the Filipino is battling COVID-19.
In response, the Chinese embassy tagged this courageous act of Hontiveros as a “selfish political” act.
The Chinese embassy cited the current foreign policy that the Duterte administration that both countries have gotten into. It labeled the current relationship of the Philippines and China as “friendly neighbors across the sea.”
This geopolitical issue of the Philippines and China has been a longstanding issue since the Aquino administration. Tension rose among the global community when China ignored the Hague court ruling in favor of the Philippines.
Hontiveros also stipulated that the Philippines should start reassessing its position in continuing to allow the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) in the country. She mentioned that there are not only tax evasion issues surrounding them, but also sex trafficking.