The USS Guardian incident seems to have taken on a business angle, what with this tweet from Donald Trump, Jr., which earned the ire of Pinoy netizens early this morning:
This is how stupid we are! $1/4 bil+ ho hum “@
drudge_report: Navy to scrap $277 million ship to avoid scraping reef... drudge.tw/XSG79T” — Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) January 30, 2013
The tweet was just one in a series of posts in which Trump criticized recent plans by the US Navy to dismantle the USS Guardian, a minesweeper that ran aground on Tubbataha Reef on January 17.
The Navy had decided to take the ship apart, in an effort to minimize further damage to the reef. But this apparently did not sit well with Trump, who believed that the plan was wasteful in light of
looming budget cuts at the US Department of Defense.
sk1mpy @ drudge_report yes because very the small section of reef that has Already been run over is is worth 1/4bil Obamanomics much? — Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) January 30, 2013
A screengrab from celebrity Bianca Gonzalez (@iamsuperbianca) prompted a cascade of tweets from Filipinos —many of whom said he couldn’t put a price on a UNESCO-declared World Heritage Site.
excuse me mr. @
donaldjtrumpjr, tubbataha is not JUST a reef. it is a national treasure. ship not supposed to be there. twitter.com/iamsuperbianca… — bianca gonzalez (@iamsuperbianca) January 30, 2013
iamsuperbianca @ donaldjtrumpjr A coral reef can take 10,000 years to form- marine life depends on it, your 277mil boat NOT MORE IMPT! — nina joaquin (@ninajoaq) January 30, 2013
Good morning from the Philippines Mr.@
donaldjtrumpjr! The REEF is not just a part of our country..it is a NATIONAL TREASURE. — pao (@polablangkita) January 30, 2013
donaldjtrumpjr thinks that Tubbataha, a UNESCO world heritage site is worth less than an arrogant US navy ship. Shame. — Tourism Philippines (@TourismPinas) January 31, 2013
donaldjtrumpjr @ adamq112 I beg to disagree. The economic value of coral reefs in Southeast Asia alone is $2 billion annualy. — Mathew Emmanuel (@MateoImmanuel) January 31, 2013
The exchange of tweets between Trump and online Pinoys seemed to many to echo the long-standing divide between big business and environmentalism.
you are right...the reef is not the same value as that of the navy ship...it is worth more...a whole lot more than the ship @
donaldjtrumpjr — Mark Anthony (@Anthony_Andres) January 31, 2013
donaldjtrumpjr your 277mil killing machine can never be more important than even a small section of reef that gives life to the oceans. — Teddy Casiño (@teddycasino) January 31, 2013
donaldjtrumpjr @ drudge_report This is our natural resources. US should spend more than 277 million to repair damage. Jeez. Asshole much? — carlosceldran (@carlosceldran) January 31, 2013
donaldjtrumpjr YOU ARE UR FATHER'S SON, DUMB ASS. The reef is worth MORE THAN 200M. It Takes thousands of years to regenerate! — Krizette Chu (@KrizetteWasHere) January 31, 2013
donaldjtrumpjr @ brianrad5 you trumps idea of beauty is so sick. just look at you dad's hairdo. — Gus Cosio (@gus_cosio) January 31, 2013
But Trump didn’t back down. He painstakingly replied to most of the tweets addressed to him, saying that, while he sympathizes over the damage to Tubbataha, the cost of the US Navy’s plan is nevertheless simply impractical.
undertheseen @ brianrad5 agreed so pull it off now rather then spend months tearing it up how do u take apart a ship without other ships — Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) January 31, 2013
undertheseen @ mateoimmanuel because no one acted that's why there is a lot of damage to ship and reef. — Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) January 31, 2013
Trump argued from a financial standpoint, contrasting the US Navy's logistical losses to the cost of damage to the reef.
brianrad5 please cleanup costs? The ship is 200 by 50 at most on the edge of a reef. it hit and stopped give me a break 277 million — Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) January 30, 2013
mateoimmanuel @ adamq112 I don't like that it happened but if you took 2bil in rev and take the ratio from earlier its rather minimal — Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) January 31, 2013
Still, the backlash from online Pinoys has been relentless:
donaldjtrumpjr You obviously don't know what or WHERE you're talking about. It's Asia's most PRIZED reef, RATIO insignificant. — Cara Manglapus (@CaraManglapus) January 31, 2013 Read More
donaldjtrumpjr you talk as if it's some kind of business. it's a coral reef, not real estate property. You're such a dick! — Keith Macapagal (@ohitsmekeith) January 31, 2013 — TJD, GMA News