Senator Loren Legarda’s Statement on Recent Developments in Tubbataha

April 7, 2013

The assessment of the damage and the determination of just penalties need to be done in accordance with RA 10067. That law created the Tubbataha Protected Area Management Board (TPAMB) which is tasked, among others, to “exercise quasi-judicial functions for adjudicating cases of violations of the Act and impose penalties.” How was the USD 1.4 million assessed and who made the assessment? What violations have been determined to merit such penalty? Is the penalty enough given the range of violations? The DOJ is tasked under the law to conduct preliminary investigation and prosecute violations of the Law. We cannot just simply identify a penalty based on the estimated damage on the reef. There has to be a determination of the range of violations, and the damages and only then can penalties be assessed. We have other laws that may have been violated as well; and clearly, RA 10067 does not preclude the filing of cases on the basis of other laws that may have been violated. All these will have to be considered by the approriate bodies.