The Philippine government confirmed Wednesday receiving over 87 million pesos from the US government as compensation for the damage caused to Tubbataha Reef by the grounding of the USS Guardian.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said the full requested amount of P87,033,570.71 ($2.2 million) will be utilized for the protection and rehabilitation of Tubbataha Reef Natural Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
“Portions of the fund will also be used to further enhance capability to monitor the area and prevent similar incidents in the future,” the DFA said.
The compensation was given to the Philippine government on January 20, 2015.
In a separate statement, the US embassy in Manila said the nation “deeply regrets the incident at the Tubbataha Reef and the damage caused to the reef…”
“We are grateful for the assistance of the Philippines in coordinating with the United States to address this accident, reflecting the deep and enduring alliance between our two nations,” the embassy said.
The US government is also helping to upgrade the Philippine Coast Guard substation in Tubbataha.
The USS Guardian minesweeper ran aground on Tubbataha in a remote part of the Sulu Sea on January 17, 2013, damaging a section of the reef, a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its rich marine life.
The incident sparked widespread condemnation across the Philippines, a former US colony.