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US Navy initiates inquiry on alleged Subic Bay toxic waste dumping

November 12, 2012 3:58am
The United States Navy is now conducting its own investigation on the alleged dumping of hazardous wastes in Subic Bay by Malaysian shipping firm Glenn Defense Marine Philippines. The firm is contracted to service US Navy assets.

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) is also carrying out its own inquiry on the matter, with Sen. Miriam Santiago also indicating her intent to follow suit as part of her Senate committee’s oversight functions.

Subic Bay harbor is part of a former major US naval base that has been transformed into a freeport under Philippine control. US naval ships still visit the port, and at least some of these ships were serviced by the Glenn Defense ship, the MV Glenn Guardian.

The ship allegedly released waste water into the bay that was “beyond the permissible limits.”

"We oppose economic degradation, we oppose illegal dumping. We are aware of these allegations, the United States Navy is investigating," said United States Ambassador to the Philippines Harry Thomas Jr. during Sunday’s Veterans' Day celebrations at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in Taguig City.

Thomas also said that the provisions in the Philippines-US Visiting Forces Agreement did not apply to the accused Malaysian shipping firm. "These people are contractors, they are not under the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA)," Thomas said.

VFA Commission Executive Director, Undersecretary Edilberto Adan is of the same mind as he said that Glenn Defense has a contract with the US Navy "so wala ang Philippine authority ito."

"Wala pang official report na natatanggap ang VFA Commission. However we have asked Subic authorities to provide us copies of the investigation if any, if they finished their investigation, so that we can act on it," he added.

Meanwhile, Malacañang also agreed that provisions in the VFA did not apply. “This particular entity, Glenn Defense Marine Asia Philippines Inc., is a third party,” said Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte Sunday on government-run dzRB radio. “Hindi ito nagfa-fall under sa VFA.”

“It’s a point of concern for us but we want to wait for results of the SBMA investigation,” she added. — DVM/HS, GMA News
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