Asian Century Philippines Strategic Studies Institute President Herman Tiu Laurel talks about the real causes of the Rozul Reef destruction during a symposium on Saturday, September 23 at Popeye's fastfood in Eton Centris, EDSA, Quezon City. – Photo by Perfecto T. Raymundo, Jr.

QUEZON CITY –– The real causes of the destruction of the Iroquis Reef (Rozul reef)  are the mismanagement of fishermen’s welfare, illegal fishing and climate change, according to the Asian Century Philippines Strategic Studies Institute, Inc. (SSII). 

During the Media Forum/Symposium at Popeye’s Fastfood in Eton Centris, EDSA, Quezon City on Saturday, September 23, Herman Tiu Laurel, President of the Asian Century Philippines SSII, said that the government, Philippine Coast Guard, and the Armed Forces of the Philippines are at fault on the coral decimation in the West Philippine Sea.

“Ito ay laban sa mga bansang naggigiyera. Nung maalis ang mga base militar noong 2016, hindi natin alam kung ilan pang base militar ang itatayo sa hinaharap,” Laurel said.

“Walang katuturan at walang katotohanan ang pinagsasabi ng PCG. Kapabayaan po ng PCG na di masawata ang dynamite fishing sa WPS,” he added.

“This is US-inspired campaign. Ang pakay po ng US ay pag-awayin ang Tsina at Pilipinas,” Laurel stressed.

The think tank, in its position on the coral demise, cited the decades of Philippine government ineffective management of Filipino fishermen’s welfare, their desperate illegal fishing practices and recently the massive impact of climate changes acidifying the seas.

It added that the US continues to define China as a “strategic competitor” and in 2022, the US Congress approved an additional US$500-million for “anti-China propaganda”.

It stressed that Sen. Robin Padilla is correct, there are clear indications of direct US-PCG/AFP coordination in the ongoing Second Thomas Shoal and Iroquis Reef, such as the activities and information feeds to Comm. Jay Tariella of ex-US Air Force Col. Raymond Powell of the Gordian Knot Center for National Security Innovation of Stanford University a project of the US Office of Naval Research — clearly a US Naval intelligence agency.

It added that Sen. Padilla is also correct in insisting that the presence of US military aircraft in the incidents should be clarified, which up to this time, it has not been clearly explained if the AFP requested for the US plane’s monitoring activities in the incidents. – By Perfecto T. Raymundo, Jr.