Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. claimed that the Philippines was not aware of the existence of the clams following his previous remarks that China should pay for the giant clams they harvested from Scarborough Shoal.
A tweet earlier this week from the diplomat said he will not be “going down in history as a clam defender.”
Twitter user @JGDelica replied to Locsin’s tweet, pointing out that the Philippine government is “letting endangered species be poached under our noses,” which the DFA chief called off to.
“No, that’s not true. We had no idea there were clams there and really I will not let this country go down to war or lose a useful economic partner just over environmental concerns for a world I care nothing about,” Locsin posted.
Locsin stated the Philippines had protested China’s extraction of giant clams on Scarborough Shoal in the West Philippine Sea.
The DFA chief strained that he refused to “get into scuba gear and wrap my arms around clams.”
Gregory Poling, director of think tank Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI), in response to Locsin said Chinese poachers have been destroying coral reef while harvesting clams from the shoal.
Poling also cautioned that these activities affect the livelihoods and food security of coastal communities, including the Philippines.
“They’ve destroyed over 40,000 acres of reef via clam harvesting. That’s more than 10[times] as much as their island building killed,” Poling posted on Twitter.
In September 2017, AMTI released a report which found that fishing resources in the South China Sea, including the Philippines, is “in danger of collapse.”