Photo courtesy of Haribon Palawan

Environment authorities said RBL Corporation’s fishing trawler Monalinda 42, which ran aground on January 5 this year in the vicinity of Ursula Island Game Refuge and Bird Sanctuary in Bataraza town, caused P15 million in damage to coral reefs.

Inocencio Magallanes, spokesperson of Haribon Palawan, said based on the Coral Reef Damage Assessment (CRDA) conducted jointly on January 22 by their office, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and the environment offices of Bataraza and the provincial government of Palawan, the damage to corals reached P15 million.

He said the amount covers 1,554.376 square meters of damaged coral reefs in the island that is a protected area in Barangay Rio Tuba, Bataraza.

He said the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) of Ursula to submit a report to the provincial government. Initial information about the problem was also sent to the DENR in MIMAROPA.

“Magmi-meeting pa lang ang PAMB Ursula at isu-submit sa governor (Jose Alvarez), nagpadala na rin sa DENR MIMAROPA regional office,” Magallanes said on January 31.

According to him, the assessment is critical in assessing the fines that will be levied on the owner of Monalinda 42 under existing environmental rules.

The imposition of penalties has something to do with the environmental code of Palawan, as stated in Provincial Provincial Ordinance 1296-13, which governs vessel grounding protocols, PCSD Resolution No. 12-440 for local valuation costs, and the law on restoration and rehabilitation of damaged corals.

After the PAMB, he said, they will send the notice of violation to RBL Corporation.