While the Philippines boasts of having some of the best beaches in the world, a report showed that the health of its marine ecosystem is deteriorating.
The country ranked 105 out of 117 territories in a list dubbed "The Ocean Health Index" recently released by the Global Agenda Council on Oceans.
The Philippines scored 51 out of 100 points in the Ocean Health Index, lower than the global average score of 60 points.
"The Ocean Health Index evaluates the condition of marine ecosystems according to 10 human goals, which represent the key ecological, social, and economic benefits that a healthy ocean provides," the report said.
A high score means that the "maximum sustainable benefit is achieved through methods that do not compromise the ocean's ability to deliver that benefit in the future," it said further.
PH's worst performance
The Philippines posted its worst performance in tourism and recreation where it was given a score of zero.
This, as the report showed that water governance policies in the Philippines inadequately address pressures caused by tourism, such as chemical and trash pollution.
The report rated the Philippines 71 points in terms of pressure from tourism and only 70 points in terms of resiliency.
The country also performed poorly in food provision or the amount of seafood harvested for human consumption and the sustainability of methods (4 points); natural marine products (40 points); and sense of place or protection of indigenous species and their habitats (45 points).
Such low scores dragged down gains in the following areas: access for local fishing communities (78 points); preservation of habitats that absorb carbon (61 points); coastal protection (69 points); coastal livelihoods and economies (72 points); clean waters (69 points); and marine biodiversity (74 points).
Its score of 51 in the Ocean Health Index is the average its score in all 10 indicators.
Condition to worsen
The report also noted that based on the trend over five years, the Philippines' ocean health will further worsen in the short-term in eight out of the 10 indicators.
Only the food provision and sense of place are expected to post slight improvements of 0.007 percent and 0.15 percent respectively, the report said.
The top ten performers in the Ocean Health Index were Jarvis Island, USA Pacific Uninhabited Territories, Clipperton Island, Seychelles, Germany, Estonia, French Polynesia, Antigua and Barbuda, the Netherlands and Canada.
At the bottom of the ranking, meanwhile, were Sierra Leone, Liberia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast, Guinea-Bissau, Ghana, Republic of the Congo, Senegal, Nigeria and Algeria.
On Wednesday, G-7 foreign ministers issued a Declaration on Maritime Security expressing alarm over “unilateral actions, such as large scale land reclamation, which change the status quo and increase tensions” in the region. In their communiqué, which did not specifically mention China, the ministers expressed belief that reclamation activities were meant to “change the status quo” in the West Philippine Sea and South China Sea, through which 40 percent of global trade passes. …