Green group pushes for the declaration of West Philippine Sea as a marine protected area

March 31, 2022

An environmental group renewed its call for the declaration of the West Philippine Sea (WPS) as a marine protected area to ease the tension in the disputed territories and protect biodiversity.

Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (PNE) on Thursday said declaring the West Philippine Sea as an international marine peace park will “demilitarize and conserve the vulnerable area.”

“With the climate crisis now at humanity’s doorstep, the critical habitats in the WPS face three-fold risks of ecological degradation, climate vulnerability, and maritime conflict,” said Leon Dulce, national coordinator of the group. 

The group made the call following the “close distance maneuvering” incident between the Philippine Coast Guard and its Chinese counterpart on March 2.

“Our country’s recent initiatives to study new species or restore ecosystems in the WPS will be for naught if we do not stop infrastructure projects and other destructive activities by China,” said Dulce. 

He said the presidential candidate who will win the May 2022 elections must “stand up against China’s aggression and work for peace and sustainability in the region.”

Dulce said the country must “work harder to push for the creation of marine peace parks and sanctuaries in the area” if leaders “truly want peace in the disputed territories.”

“Sadly, biodiversity is the least talked about environmental concern during the campaign season,” he said. 

Dulce urged the public to continue to put pressure on candidates to tackle the looming destruction of ecosystems and the country’s territorial waters.

“We call on voters to elect leaders who will stand not just for national sovereignty over our natural resources, but also for the conservation of our country’s biodiversity,” he said. 

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