Romblon Gov. Eduardo Firmalo welcomed on Friday the discovery of the wreckage of the World War II Japanese battleship Musashi in the Sibuyan Sea near the province, but said the find was not coordinated with local officials and national government.
He said the Philippine Coast Guard and the Philippine Navy were unaware of the exploration made by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and his team in the territory.
“Since there may be artifacts, which are historically significant, government institutions like the National Museum and the National Historical Commission of the Philippines must also be informed,” Firmalo said in a statement.
The American billionaire announced last week his M/Y Octopus exploration vessel found the Musashi, Japan’s biggest and most famous battleship, one kilometer deep on the floor of Sibuyan Sea. They likened the find to the discovery of the Titanic.
American forces sank the Musashi during the Battle of Sibuyan Sea, which is considered one of history’s largest naval battles. The Philippines celebrate the event every October 20 as the Battle of Sibyan Sea Day.
Firmalo said the province in collaboration with the local governments of Tablas and the Sibuyan Island have been commemorating the event to promote peace and unity among Americans, Japanese and Filipinos.
“World War II memorials have been erected,” he said.
Firmalo said the Japanese Embassy should have been informed of the find “as reverence to their fallen soldiers, there may also be ways how to regard the issue with utmost traditional sensitivity.”