Casiño: Suspend US contractor dumping wastes in PHL waters
PARTY LIST representative and senatorial candidate Teddy Casiño today 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 the tanker MT Glenn Guardian dumped toxic wastes from American ships that joined the recently concluded joint military exercises in the country in Philippine waters.
“Dapat talaga na isuspinde muna ang operasyon ng kumpanyang ito dahil baka dati pa itong nagtatapon ng toxic wastes sa ating karagatan at ngayon lang natin nalaman. Dapat din na magkaroon ng komprehensibong imbestigasyon dito ang Kongreso at ipatawag ang mga sangkot sa nangyari maging ang kanilang mga kliyente kung alam nila ang ginagawa ng kanilang contractor,” said the solon.
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 said.