Casiño agrees with Sen. Santiago 100% in calling for VFA’s scrapping

PARTY LIST representative and senatorial candidate Teddy Casiño today said that the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) is turning our country into a toxic waste dump as evidenced by the unloading of toxic materials by the tanker MT Glenn Guardian from American ships that joined the recently concluded joint military exercises in Philippine waters.

“Dahil sa VFA eh nagiging tambakan tayo ng mga toxic waste ng US. Dapat talaga e matagal nang ibinasura ang kasunduang ito. Ang mas masama pa eh dahil sa buong  bansa pwedeng dumaong ang mga barko ng US e, maaaring di lang sila sa Subic nagtapon ng toxic waste,” said the solon.

“I also 100% agree with Sen. Santiago in calling for the abrogation of the VFA and we have in fact been very vocal in opposing VFA from the start,” added Casiño

The Makabayan senatorial bet earlier called for the immediate suspension of the operations of Glenn Defense Marine Asia a Malaysian company operating in several countries which services American ships in the Philippines, when the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) found out that they dump waste in our waters.

Based on newspaper reports on Oct. 15, SBMA Ecology Center personnel inspected Glenn Guardian, then docked at the Naval Supply Depot area here due to a “hazard call” from another free port locator.

A copy of the SBMA spot report showed that the tanker was carrying some 189,500 liters of domestic waste and about 760 liters of bilge water (a combination of water, oil and grease), all of which were hauled from Emory Land, a US Navy ship.

On Oct. 16, a team from the Philippine Coast Guard’s marine pollution division, led by PO1 Enrico Viuda, and SBMA Ecology Center personnel boarded Glenn Guardian and another vessel, MT Glenn Enterprise, to take water samples and see whether the liquid waste was safe to be dumped into the sea. But SBMA sources said Edilberto Acedilla, captain of Glenn Guardian, told the team that the liquid wastes had been dumped at least 37 kilometers (20 nautical miles) from Subic Bay.

The company, through its lawyers, sent the SBMA a reply on Nov. 6 and said the Presidential Commission on the Visiting Forces Agreement, not the government agency administering this free port, has jurisdiction over it.

“Glenn Defense Marine Asia should also not use the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) as a cover for their wrongdoing. Actually this is one of the nightmare scenarios that can happen under the VFA that is why we vehemently opposed the pact and still pushing for its abrogation. While they are dumping toxic or nuclear wastes in our waters they can say that they are not accountable to local authorities. This is the height of impunity,” he said.

“Saan ka ba naman nakakita na sila na maysala e sila pa ang galit at dapat daw e iba ang sumisita sa kanila? Samantalang ang mga mangingisda, empleyado at residente sa lugar ang pangunahig maapekyuhan ng kalokohan nila,” Casiño ended.

Casiño is the author of House Joint Resolution 7, “A joint resolution terminating the RP-US Visiting Forces Agreement” and “House Resolution 1242, “A resolution strongly opposing the return of U.S. troops and military facilities in Clark or Subic or any part of the country under the pretext of the Visiting Forces Agreement in affirmation of the Filipino People’s historic rejection of the RP-US Military Bases Agreement in 1991.”

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