Call to probe dumping of toxic waste in Subic Bay snowballs

A move calling for a congressional probe into the alleged illegal dumping of toxic wastes of US Navy sub-contractor Glenn Marine Defense Asia in Subic Bay has gained ground in the House of Representatives.

Rep. Angelo Palmones (Party-list, Agham) filed House Resolution 2879 asking the Committee on Ecology to conduct an inquiry on the dumping of toxic wastes in Philippine territorial waters by a contractor of US visiting vessels.

Palmones said the dumping of toxic waste about 37 kilometers of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, “should not be left unpunished and should be condemned emphatically and vehemently.”

“The Philippines has spent millions of borrowed and domestic resources to clean polluted bodies of water such as the Pasig River, and the Taal Lake and many “esteros” in Metro Manila. The condition of rivers, lakes, and esteros as well as the air over crowded populated areas such urban centers and cities determine the health of the population,” Palmones said.

Palmones said the advent of climate change which has increased temperatures triggering the rise in sea level, increased in natural calamities such as typhoons greatly negatively affecting personal safety and food security of the population is a direct result of pollution that contributes to carbon emission in the atmosphere.

Palmones said the excuse made by the Glenn Defense Marine Asia, that it is covered by the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) since it has been providing service to the US visiting forces and that they are not liable for any punishable action is highly deplorable.

The Philippines has entered into an agreement with the United States for the mutual military protection of the former through the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) which was ratified by the Senate in 1999 where US military personnel and vessels and other forms of carriers can visit the country on scheduled military exercises.

These vessels and carriers, Palmones said, generate large amounts of wastes and dispose of these wastes, the US military establishment has contracted service providers, in this case the Glenn Defense Marine Asia, to collect and dispose these wastes.

Since the Glenn Defense Marine Asia is using the VFA to evade its responsibilities for dumping waste in Philippine waters, Palmones also calls on the government to review the revision of the VFA.

Earlier, Reps. Raymond Palatino (Party-List, Kabataan) and Teddy Casino (Party-List, Bayan Muna) filed House Resolution 2881 calling on the committees on natural resources and ecology at the House of Representatives to look into the alleged dumping of toxic waste made by a US Navy contractor within Philippine waters.

Palatino believes that Glenn Marine Defense Asia “violated several pertinent laws of the Philippines, including Republic Act No. 6969 or the Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Wastes Control Act of 1990 and Republic Act No. 9275 or the Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004.

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