US Navy Paid Hawaii P600 Million for 2009 Ship Grounding

Leave a comment

Press Update:

Last week’s grounding of the USS Guardian is but the latest in a long line of scrapes between ships and reefs. On 5 February 2009, the USS Port Royal, a guided missile cruiser, ran aground less than a kilometer from the Honolulu International Airport in Hawaii to destroy about 890 square meters of coral reef.

After much media furor, the United States Navy promised to pay the State of Hawaii $8.5 million to settle claims over coral reef damage, plus another $6.5 million for reef restoration – including the reattachment of 5400 coral colonies to expedite regrowth. The total assistance provided by the US Navy amounted to $15 million – about P610 million.

For the Philippines, Tubbataha is the cradle of marine life. Formed from the eruption of undersea volcanoes nearly 15 million years ago, Tubbataha or ‘long reef’ in the Samal tongue features dramatic coral-coated slopes and drop-offs patrolled by over 600 species of fish – ranging from the fingernail-sized Striped Triplefin (Helcogramma striata) to the truck-sized Whale Shark (Rhincodon typus), largest of all fish.

A multi-awarded UNESCO World Heritage site which celebrates its Silver Anniversary in 2013, the Park boasts of unparalleled biodiversity levels. Whereas a typical square kilometer of healthy coral reef annually yields up to 40 metric tonnes of seafood yearly, Tubbataha generates over 200. Though fishing within the park is not allowed, the spillover effects continually seed the far reaches of the Sulu Sea with fish and invertebrate spawn.

Today, the 68-meter long USS Guardian still sits on the northwestern portion of the Tubbataha Reefs’ South Atoll, its wood-and-fiberglass hull breached and taking a pounding from 10-foot waves brought in by the Hanging Amihan – the bitter northeasterly winds from Siberia.

A composite team from the US Navy, Philippine Navy and Philippine Coastguard are now braving violent currents and swells to remove 15,000 gallons of fuel from the stricken ship. If successful, marine engineers will attempt to de-water and refloat the craft using a crane vessel – a ship specialized in lifting heavy loads.

“Like a ticking taxi meter, the passing of each minute and hour raises the stakes,” says WWF-Philippines Vice-chair and CEO Jose Ma. Lorenzo Tan, a member of the Tubbataha Protected Area Management Board. “However, safety must be chosen over speed – hasty efforts might do further harm to the reef.”



According to preliminary assessments, the area damaged by the 1300-tonne USS Guardian spans at least 1600 square meters – almost twice the area flattened by the USS Port Royal in Hawaii in 2009.

Tubbataha Reefs Park Superintendent Angelique Songco says that under Republic Act 10067 or the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park Act of 2009, a fine of about $300 or P12,000 per square meter is mandatory, plus another $300 or so per square meter for rehabilitation efforts.

Given the estimated size of damaged reef, the minimum fine would be $960,000 or P38 million – still miniscule compared with the fines paid by the US for its 2009 Port Royal incident. Further sanctions include unauthorized park entry, non-payment of conservation fees, destruction of resources and the obstruction of law enforcement.

Explains Songco, “This is not the first grounding incident in the park – all previous cases paid the appropriate fines for damages.  We will not ask for anything more than what the law requires. We wish only for the US Navy to be responsible enough when entering our protected areas.”

In an official statement, US Ambassador to the Philippines Harry Thomas, Jr. stated that the US Government will take steps to address the environmental issues that have arisen from the incident.

Concludes Tan, “Clearly, parallelisms between the USS Guardian and the USS Port Royal can be made. In the case of the Port Royal, the US Navy did the right thing by working cooperatively to fund the restoration and continued protection of the damaged reef. It is our hope that the same respect accorded to the people of Hawaii be given to the Philippines. For even though corals, sponges and fish shall one day return to the stricken site – the scars borne by the USS Guardian will take years to heal.


Official Statement: Tubbataha Protected Area Management Board

Leave a comment

Press Update:

tubbataha USS Guardian 222 January 2013
An unfortunate incident that no one wanted  to happen . ..  but damage has been done. Someone has to pay for the damages.
Under Republic Act 10067, it is the TPAMB’s mandate to protect, preserve and promote the resources of Tubbataha Reef. We are duty-bound to enforce the law.
In order to fulfill our mandate and uphold the rule of law, it is the TPAMBs intention to serve the US Navy with a formal notice listing violations of the above law in the grounding incident of January 17 involving the USS Guardian.
We will ask them to take responsibility, and immediately pay the fines that can be estimated at this time.
The violations that are evident at this time, include the following:
Section 19
Section 21
Section 30
Section 20
Section 26G
These actions are being done without prejudice to the results of subsequent assessments that have yet to be done to determine the extent of damage to the Park and its resources as a direct result of the 17 January grounding, as well as incidental damage arising from ongoing retrieval operations.

Subsequent to ship retrieval / and the assessment of Park damage, the TPAMB intends to serve a second formal notice of violation to the US Navy, that will quantify the estimate of destruction and the fines that must be paid.

Read WWF’s official statement here:

Herbal Hair Spa Now in the Philippines at Taylor Tyler



Ms. Bee Choo, second from left, at the ribbon cutting ceremony of Taylor Tyler

What a refreshing change to enter a parlor and not take in all the chemical scents pervading the room.  Those who are not yet immune to the smell end up having headaches.  Can you imagine all those chemicals being absorbed by your body, whether through your nose or scalp.   Well now you have the option of going natural with Taylor Tyler Herbal Hair  Spa Salon.  They take pride in an all-natural process and natural products.

SAM_1123The moment you enter the salon, you can breathe well without covering your nose as you take a whiff of  the over-all scent of herbs or natural aromas such as ginger and coconut. The first step in the Origin hair treatment is the application of ginger oil to open pores and prep the scalp so it can easily absorb the herb treatment that follows.  SAM_1114A mixture of seven mashed herbs that include ginseng and green tea was applied to my scalp and hair before going under the hair steamer.  You should allot an hour or so for this treatment especially if you have long, thick hair.  This treatment covers a multitude of benefits that include the following: keeping hair soft and healthy, keeping it black, covering gray hair with reddish highlights, and de-toxing the hair from chemicals.  The Origin herbal spa treatment includes only one process for everyone.  So the results will depend on the frequency of the treatment.

SAM_1112After going through the steamer,  the hair then is made to rest until it cools off at room temperature.  This is then followed by a strong minty shampoo cleansing with conditioner.  I was told that the treatment stays and works in the hair for the next three days. After the shampoo, hair is blow-dried to reveal the bouncier, shinier and healthier result.

More than anything, the salon offers a pleasant experience from start to finish with an aromatherapy added treat. With its health and wellness aspect, this asian beauty treatment may just be a hit here in the Philippines.

SAM_1111To maintain a beautiful head of hair it isn’t enough to just shampoo and condition; it’s more about making the choice to live a healthier lifestyle.

As the saying goes, if you feel good on the inside, it will reflect on the outside, so aside from keeping a positive attitude as you go about your daily endeavors, it’s also a must that you make an effort to treat your mind, body, and spirit to lifestyle choices that are more natural and 100% good for you.

Starting from your health to your beauty routine, making the choice to go natural is actually easy even if you’re the type who’s always on the go.

Who is Bee Choo?

Taking effective home remedies to the next level, an enterprising woman from Singapore named Bee Choo has mastered an all-natural concoction meant to restore the hair’s natural beauty.

Opting for a more traditional approach to solve her hair problems, Bee Choo opted to rely on oriental herbal medicine to make her hair beautiful once more. Through a potent combination of all-natural herbs, she was able to bid her hair problems goodbye. Soon after, news about her “miracle” hair treatment spread through word of mouth and she eventually opened her first hair treatment center in Singapore. As business continued to boom, Bee Choo Herbal Treatment promptly branched out to neighboring Malaysia, then Hong Kong, Indonesia, Taiwan, and now, it’s finally in the Philippines.

My John Co,owner of Taylor Tyler Herbal Treatment Spa Salon

My John Co,owner of Taylor Tyler Herbal Treatment Spa Salon

Pampering your hair the natural way

For those whose hair just needs a “de-tox”, after just one Bee Choo Herbal Hair Treatment will leave their hair with a beautiful shine and much-needed volume.

For older clients, the benefits of the Bee Choo Herbal Hair Treatment go beyond those mentioned above. In fact, its popularity abroad stemmed mostly from its ability to provide an effective solution to hair loss, with extreme cases needing only a year to be solved. The natural tint of the herbs also acts as an all-natural dye for those with white hair, of course, depending on the natural color of your hair, it can turn to a darker shade of brown to auburn after continuous treatments.

The variety of Bee Choo Origin herbal hair products, like the Origin Purity Scalp Shampoo, Origin Purity Repair Hair Conditioner, Garlic Wine, Origin Treatment Spa Crème, and Origin Crystal Serum that will be used for the treatment, are all guaranteed safe even for kids and pregnant women, just like the rest of the products in the Bee Choo Origin line.

Do note that the Bee Choo Herbal Hair Treatment is not meant as an alternative to rebonding treatments. It’s just a great way of ridding your hair of product buildup and other impurities caused by other products and treatments, which may have left your hair dry and unmanageable over the years. After your Bee Choo sessions, your hair will look and feel much healthier, eventually going back to its natural luster.

This is just the start of a new, natural way of life, aside from Bee Choo hair treatments and the Bee Choo Origin line of hair care products, taking care of your body and wellbeing is a daily commitment that you must make.

To enjoy the many benefits of the Bee Choo Herbal Hair Treatment, drop by TaylorTyler Herbal Hair Spa and Salon at the 2nd floor of Pergola Mall, BF Homes Paranaque and and Unit 216 South Parking Arcade Building, SM Mall of Asia.

with charming owners, couple John and Jocelyn Co

with charming owners, couple John and Jocelyn Co

Cool Upcycled Designs from Scrap Tires by Siklo


Siklo Upcycle GSNow here’s a fashion statement  with a worthwhile message of: “Save the Earth”.  Using garbage, toxic garbage at that, and turning it into a thing of beauty, worthy to be displayed and called fashion is a stroke of genius with a heart.  Bags, belt bags, back packs,  jewelry, belts for Indie chic or bohemian fashionistas are now available thru Siklo Pilipinas. You can find their cool products at Legaspi Sunday Market every Sunday from 7am to 2pm located at Legaspi St., Legaspi Village, Makati City.   GThey are also available at the DTI-NCR Metro Festival 2013, Monday to Friday 8am to 5pm which will be held until March at the DTI Bldg., BDT Showroom, Buendia Ave. Ext. corner Makati Avenue besides Petron Gas DTI, Buendia.

GWhen companies do their part to help the environment is one wonderful thing but when companies are created  to help the environment then profit from it is a whole new ball game.  Siklo Pilipinas was conceptualized on that basis.  Why not do business and help the environment at the same time?  That’s what business couple, Lyndon  and Clarice De Villa- Ecuacion decided to do with their artistic talents and their love for nature.  Both happen to be avid mountaineers whGo appreciate the earth’s beauty and the value of its preservation.  Aside from making use of difficult to dispose of toxic materials such as tires, the company is also providing jobs for undergraduates.  Clarice De Villa- Ecuacion, co-owner of Siklo Pilipinas, openly shares her company’s beginnings and vision for the future:

Did you position your company to be pro-environment when you started?  What inspired you to take on environment as your advocacy?

G“Wherever humans trudge there will be trash, or put another way,  humans trash the environment.  We are avid backpackers, since college days, where we learned to respect nature.  The mountaineering slogan “take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints” has  become our habit wherever we go . . . from the mountains of Mindanao to the remote islands of Polillo.  When we get home, our backpacks were always filled with personal trash instead of souvenirs. Doing that for more than a decade, I can say we are pro-environment and so is Siklo Pilipinas“.

How did you learn about using old tires as part of your designs?

G“We started this upcycling venture in 2011.  In my research for an eco-project for our local store,  I came across  tire rubber which is a stubborn trash to decay. We shared ideas with my designer husband on what we can do with this material.  Every night, for like a month we brainstormed then finally we got excited over the feasible ideas we came up with.

The first time we tested our product in Legaspi Sunday Market, we were asked if we could export our designs to Europe.  We were encouraged and  inspired to work harder.

GWith a designer available 24/7, we begun accommodating customer suggestions and personalized their specific needs. We started with bicycle panniers until our product line grew into bags.  My husband would comment  that the work was  enslaving and very demanding but yet it was a welcome creative challenge.

We were also elated to finally find a solution to waterproofing and gear protection for our backpacking adventure trips to the 7,100 islands.  It’s more fun going green!”

Could you explain the difference between upcycling and recycling?  Does it cost more to upcycle than recycle?

G“If I am to differentiate between Upcycling and Recycling in my own terms: Upcycling has very low carbon footprint in manufacturing a product and usually involves more people in the process.  Recycling, on the other hand, has usually more carbon footprint in the process  of making a new product with more energy and machines.  But I think recycling has lesser cost involved as the process of extracting raw materials from nature (logging, mining) is significantly reduced.  Upcycling and Recycling have totally different manufacturing processes: in Recycling,  you dictate the materials but in Upcycling the material dictates you.

GSiklo Pilipinas maintains the innate form of the raw material but we learned from experience that  used materials are never the same so  we need to subjecting it to standard manufacturing processes. Since it does not yield 100% success, we translate this to cost.  I guess that’s why Upcycled products are low in supply compared to Recycled ones.  Recycling is like a tricycle whereas Upcycling is more of a bicycle.  Imagine how much more  effort  you put  to ride uphill, that will translate to added labor cost.”

What other waste products will you consider upcycling in the future?

GTire rubber is a sustainable material for upcycling.  A customer who is a retired Australian World Bank official shared to us that in his several years of work at the Waste Management program in South East Asia,  he believe tire trash is more problematic than plastic.  He said that if you bury it 2 meters underground, it will always pop-out  after some time and still be a tire.   With this encouragement from him  and many others, our conviction to work on this stubborn material remains strong.  However, we will continue exploring for other non-organic materials that are preferably tougher than tire rubber yet health-safe for the lifestyle industry.   Who knows, we just might be able to do justice to scrap plastic as well.”

What are your top selling products?

G“We were truly amazed by how people reacted to our products.  Several government  officials, as well as private institutions, offered  financial support to our endeavors.

It’s funny to think that the most sought after items we have is my calling card.

Seriously, we have observed the following buying trends of our customers:   Most Filipinos are attracted to our Indy satchel series, usually from young sports-minded professionals down to younger teens and even kids!  But there were more foreigner kids though than local Pinoys.

GE DIGITAL CAMERAMost foreigners and balikbayans prefer our inner-tube bag series.  Filipinos from the upper income bracket are also strong buyers of our inner-tube bags.  We speculate that perhaps they are more environmentally aware.  One thing we are so pleased about  is that people from all walks of life and stature always express appreciation over what we are doing.  This simply means that Siklo Pilipinas is able to connect to the call of our times.”

Being creative with disposable materials, applying it in business may just be the new business trend.  Making profit where everyone will benefit in the long run is not a bad way to do business.  Take it from Siklo Pilipinas.

Light Up with LED . . . hours Beyond Earth Hour

Leave a comment

Philips Partners with WWF for Earth Hour 2013 (WWF-Philippines & Sophia Dedace)

WWF-Philippines and Philips have formalized their partnership for Earth Hour 2013’s Beyond the Hour program. From left to right are Philips Electronics & Lighting Product Management & Consumer Care Manager Ria Núñez, WWF-Philippines Chairman Vincent Pérez, Philips Electronics Country Manager Fabia Tetteroo-Bueno and WWF-Philippines Vice-chair & CEO Jose Ma. Lorenzo Tan.

Press Update:

Did you know that light emitting diode (LED) lamps use only about 26% of the electricity that compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and traditional incandescent light bulbs use? Now imagine how much energy we can save if every Filipino household replaces all its older light bulbs with LED lamps.

Demand on natural resources has doubled in the last 50 years. We are currently using the equivalent of 1.5 planets to sustain our needs. Given the challenge of finite resources, we need to find ways to do more while using less energy.

Guided by this, leading renewable energy advocate World Wide Fund for Nature Philippines (WWF-Philippines) partnered with Philips Electronics and Lightings, Inc. (Philips) to help Filipinos adopt simple steps to use energy wisely and reduce their ecological impacts on the planet.

Energy efficiency simply means using the least possible amount of energy to get a job done. For the average Filipino consumer, energy efficiency is a way to reduce electricity costs and improve the planet’s health at the same time.

WWF-Philippines and Philips have been partners for two years in implementing the Bright Kids program, which has educated thousands of public elementary students about energy efficiency and conservation.

This 2013, Philips has taken its commitment to protect the environment a step further by supporting Earth Hour and its accompanying climate change adaptation program, Beyond the Hour.

Providing additional support for WWF-Philippines’ sustainability and conservation programs, Philips plans to turn over 150 solar-powered lamps for the organization’s project sites, research facilities, and partner rural communities which are susceptible to power interruptions.

“Philips has partnered with WWF-Philippines again in the hopes of establishing a better and more sustainable environment. Since it is our company’s objective to improve overall the health and well-being of communities, we intend to equip and educate Filipinos with simple yet integral steps to help them use energy more efficiently while enjoying an ideal quality of life,” says Ms. Fabia Tetterroo-Bueno, Philips country manager.

Earth Hour, Every Hour

Earth Hour, celebrated across 7001 cities and towns in 151 countries last year, is the world’s largest voluntary action for the planet. It invites individuals, businesses, governments, and communities to turn off their lights for one hour on a designated Saturday in March to stand for environmentally sustainable action.

For the past four years, the Philippines has had the most number of cities and towns joining the global movement. But more than the numbers, Earth Hour stands for a pledge to go beyond the 60-minute lights-out by living more sustainably and minimizing our ecological impacts.

Beyond the Hour is an on-the-ground program that encourages individuals to proactively take action to protect the environment. The year-long campaign will reach out to the general public, local government constituencies, and public schools.

“Earth Hour and Beyond the Hour are brilliant examples of climate change solutions, plus public and private sector collaborations. Through our partnership with Philips, more Filipinos will know how to manage their resources efficiently as we face a climate-defined future,” says Atty. Angela Consuelo Ibay, the National Director of Earth Hour Philippines and the Head of WWF-Philippines’ Climate Change and Energy Program.

“WWF-Philippines and Philips encourage Filipinos to join us for this year’s Earth Hour and more importantly, to go beyond the hour. There is no action too small or insignificant when it comes from a sincere commitment to protect the environment,” Ibay concludes. (30)

Go dark for an hour, go green for the planet. Earth Hour 2013 is slated for March 23, 8:30 PM to 9:30 PM. Switch off all non-essential lights for 60 minutes and join the rest of the world in showing your commitment to keep our planet alive!

You can go Beyond the Hour by following these simple steps to reduce energy consumption and use energy wisely: Unplug chargers for mobile phones and other mobile devices as soon as they are fully charged.

  1.  Unplug chargers for mobile phones and other mobile devices as soon as they are fully charged.

2. Use a power strip for your home cinema and office equipment to easily turn multiple devices on and off, all at once.

3. Turn off your computer at night.

4. Install energy-efficient light bulbs. A variety of options are available, including compact fluorescent lamps and LED lamps.

5. Switch lights off! Like all electrical items, switch off all lights when no one is around.

6. Use a laptop instead of a desktop, which consumes five times more electricity. If you must have a desktop, get an LCD screen instead of an outdated CRT screen.

Rhino Poaching in South Africa Raises Global Concern

1 Comment


Press Update:

Cape Town, January 10, 2013 – Rhino poaching statistics released today by the South African government reveal that a record 668 rhinos were killed across the country in 2012, an increase of nearly 50 per cent from the 448 rhinos lost to poachers in 2011. An additional five rhinos have been killed since the beginning of this year.

A majority of the rhino deaths, 425, occurred in Kruger National Park, South Africa’s premier safari destination. Poaching incidents in Kruger were up sharply from 252 in 2011.

Arrests of suspected poachers and smugglers also increased in 2012, with 267 people now facing rhino-related charges. In November, a Thai man was sentenced to a record 40 years in prison for conspiring to smuggle rhino horns to Asia.

A recent TRAFFIC report found that rhino horns are believed to have medicinal properties and are seen as highly desirable status symbols in some Asian countries, notably Viet Nam. The increased value of rhino horn has enticed well-organized, well-financed and highly-mobile criminal groups to become involved in rhino poaching.

“Viet Nam must curtail the nation’s rhino horn habit, which is fuelling a poaching crisis in South Africa,” said Sabri Zain, TRAFFIC’s Director of Advocacy.

“Rhinos are being illegally killed, their horns hacked off and the animals left to bleed to death, all for the frivolous use of their horns as a hangover cure.”

In December, Viet Nam and South Africa signed an agreement aimed at bolstering law enforcement and tackling illegal wildlife trade including rhino horn trafficking.  The agreement paves the way for improved intelligence information sharing and joint efforts by the two nations to crack down on the criminal syndicates behind the smuggling networks.

“Whilst we commend South Africa and Viet Nam for signing a Memorandum of Understanding regarding biodiversity conservation, we now need to see a joint Rhino Plan of Action being implemented, leading to more of these rhino horn seizures,” said Dr Jo Shaw, WWF-SA’s Rhino Co-ordinator. “There is also an urgent need to work closely with countries which are transit routes for illicit rhino horn, specifically Mozambique.”

Two Vietnamese men were detained in separate incidents earlier this month in Viet Nam and Thailand for smuggling rhino horns, which were believed to have been exported from Mozambique.

Both Mozambique and Viet Nam have been given failing grades by WWF’s Wildlife Crime Scorecard for failing to enforce laws meant to protect rhinos. The study also outlines important actions needed by South Africa, such as ensuring those arrested for rhino crimes are prosecuted and punished.


Editor’s note:

Photos are available here:

For further information or to schedule an interview with a WWF or TRAFFIC expert contact:

WWF: Alona Rivord,, +41 79 959 1963

TRAFFIC: Richard Thomas,, +44 752 6646 216


TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, works to ensure that trade in wild plants and animals is not a threat to the conservation of nature. TRAFFIC is a strategic alliance of IUCN and WWF.

To learn more about WWF and TRAFFIC’s campaign visit and follow us on Twitter @WWF_media.