Kerry promises compensation for Tubbataha damage
US personnel willing to be probed by PH
MANILA - Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said newly installed US Secretary of State John Kerry gave him a call Wednesday night and they had a “frank discussion” regarding the grounding of the USS Guardian in Tubbataha Reef.
He said Kerry, who replaced former US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, assured the Philippines of the US' full cooperation in removing the minesweeper without causing further damage to the reef.
“Secretary Kerry reiterated the deep regret of the US government over the incident and its readiness to provide full and appropriate compensation,” he said.
The Philippines will be on the lookout regarding the matter, he said. “I would like to assure the public that every effort will be made to obtain proper compensation. We also are of the view that a long term commitment of resources by the United States to the future well being of the reef is important, on top of the issue of compensation.”
Kerry also committed that US personnel involved in the incident will face any probe that will be implemented by Philippine investigators, he said.
“Secretary Kerry said that he himself wants to know and get to the bottom of what truly happened. In this context, he said that he wants to be a full partner of the Philippines in finding out what happened and that the U.S. government will cooperate fully with the investigation that the Philippines is conducting,” he said.
A full investigation is now being carried out by the Philippine Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).
The US is also doing a separate investigation. The Philippines will be consulted before the US finalizes its own probe.
“We both agreed that it is important to understand what happened and to take the necessary navigational safety measures to protect the reef and that would prevent other ships from grounding there.”