Glenn Defense dumped millions of liters of sewage from US Navy ships near Subic, a Senate investigation ruled on Wednesday afternoon. It doesn't appear that it was dumped in the bay but it was dumped, in violation of Philippine environmental laws, within the 200-mile exclusive economic zone.
Legarda Reports Results of Senate Investigation on Glenn Defense
Senator Loren Legarda today reported the results of the joint investigation of the Committees on Foreign Relations and Environment and Natural Resources on the alleged dumping of wastes in seawaters by MT Glenn Guardian, a vessel owned by Glenn Defense Marine Asia Pte Ltd.
Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, said that the investigation by the Senate produced wide-ranging inputs from various stakeholders which showed that Glenn Defense clearly violated Philippine laws when it dumped sewage waste in seawaters covered by the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) on October 15, 2012.
The Senate investigation also established that the dumping of sewage wastes it collected from US ships was an established practice of Glenn Defense over the past years.
“We are talking here of millions of liters of sewage wastes disposed at sea by Glenn Defense over a period of time, without the requisite permits from the government. They do not even have the necessary accreditation as waste collectors from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority,” Legarda said.
In October 2012, MT Glenn Guardian was found to have dumped in the Philippine EEZ, around 200,000 liters of sewage wastes it had collected from US ship Emory Land. It was found that these wastes were in excess of the permitted effluent standards set by the DENR.
The investigation also established, based on the analysis of the Philippine Coast Guard, that the sewage wastes were dumped by MT Glenn Guardian in areas outside of the designated dumping sites, again in violation of Philippine regulations.
The Senator also said that the mandate of the Presidential Commission on the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFACOM), which is to ensure “respect for Philippine laws, state policies, and strict compliance with the rules and regulations promulgated by the concerned departments and agencies” under Executive Order no. 199, needs to be strongly enforced. The investigation established lapses in the enforcement of laws and regulations.
“The DENR and the Philippine Coast Guard should pro-actively carry out their mandated functions in relation to marine pollution control. It is lamentable that all these violations are happening under the noses of government officials; some of them looking the other way while disrespect for our laws is happening,” Legarda said.
Legarda said that among the recommendations in the report is the conduct of administrative proceedings and criminal proceedings against Glenn Defense and, if warranted, even its blacklisting.
“This incident and the unfortunate grounding of a US minesweeper in Tubbataha Reef are two different incidents, grounded on the same issue – the need for better coordinative and implementing arrangements to ensure, as stated in the Executive Order creating the VFACOM, ‘respect for Philippine laws, state policies…and strict compliance with rules and regulations’ by our treaty partner and all entities performing services outside of the VFA,” she stressed.
“Our government agencies need to understand that in any Agreement or Treaty, national interest is first and second to none,” Legarda concluded.***