Latest Stories

Senate considering probe of USS Guardian grounding


Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Sen. Francis Escudero, chair of the Senate committee on environment and natural resources, said he was considering holding a Senate inquiry into the USS Guardian’s running aground and damaging the Tubbataha Reef.

“Did it have authorized access in the first place? Were we informed of its presence in our territory? Why can’t we have official word from concerned authorities about the official status of the ship in our waters?” Escudero said in a statement.

Calling the incident a “very serious one,” Escudero said his committee “may launch a probe to uncover possible violations of Philippine and international laws.”

“We should demand not only indemnity for damage but also restoration costs. Reefs are grown over centuries, the extent of the damage and what it will leave cannot be quantified in any amount,” he added.

Sen. Loren Legarda, chair of the Senate committee on foreign relations, expressed concern over what she called a “troubling pattern of environmental assault that has resulted from the visits by United States naval ships in the country.”

Legarda cited the alleged failure by US authorities to coordinate the movement and route of the USS Guardian while in Philippine waters.

“Our Visiting Forces Agreement and other treaties with the United States government is not a free pass so US ships and military personnel can do as they wish in our country, including the destruction of the environment and protected sites in our country,” Legarda said.

Legarda wants an explanation from the Presidential Commission on the VFA and the Philippine Coast Guard on how the USS Guardian was allowed to venture into the Tubbataha Reef.

“The VFAComm is tasked to monitor, in coordination with appropriate government agencies and NGOs, the activities of foreign military and civilian personnel,” Legarda said.

“What kind of coordination was carried out when officials on board the USS Guardian refused to respond to the radio calls made by Philippine authorities who were investigating their presence in our protected area?” Legarda added.

Legarda recalled that a US navy contractor, Glenn Marine Defense Asia Philippines, was found in October last year to have dumped waste water from visiting US ships into Philippine waters “in contravention of Philippine and international laws and regulations.”

“An accounting needs to be done, not just of this recent incident, but of the totality of the activities done under the ambit of the VFA over the past decade,” Legarda added.

According to Escudero, Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez could not say if the warship’s entry was authorized or not.

Located 150 kilometers southeast of Puerto Princesa City, the Tubbataha Reef Natural Park is a 97,030-hectare Marine Protected Area in Palawan and is at the heart of the so-called Coral Triangle, “acknowledged as the global center of marine biodiversity.”

“The Coral Triangle is home to at least 40 percent of the world’s fish and 75 percent of corals. Being in the center of the Coral Triangle, Tubbataha Reef plays a critical role in marine biodiversity preservation,” Escudero said.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Francis Escudero , Philippine Senate , Tubbatah Reef , US Navy , USS Guardian , USS Guardian grounding

  • disqusted0fu

    There goes Pnoy’s straight path… because of his kowtowing to the US, his path went straight to the destruction of our waters.

    Regardless of a probe by the Senate or not, or what comes out of the results, we all know that there will be no repercussions for the US because Pnoy looks up to the Americans and he does not want to destroy what is left of our ties with them. It’s always allies first before country under this administration.

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


  • Palace prepared to charge its allies
  • 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  • PNP chief on plunder raps: ‘Amateurish’
  • Makati readies 12-month traffic plan for Skyway 3
  • Heard on Radyo Inquirer 990AM
  • Sports

  • Mixers trim Aces, force do-or-die tiff
  • Donaire junks Garcia as coach, taps father
  • ’Bye Ginebra: No heavy heart this time
  • UAAP board tackles new rules
  • Baguio climb to decide Le Tour de Filipinas
  • Lifestyle

  • Entering the monkhood a rite of passage
  • Haneda International Airport: A destination on its own
  • Wanted: Beauty queen with a heart that beats for the environment
  • Kim Atienza: At home with art and design
  • Life lessons I want to teach my son
  • Entertainment

  • Return of ‘Ibong Adarna’
  • Practical Phytos plans his future
  • In love … with acting
  • From prison to the peak of success
  • ‘Asedillo’ location thrives
  • Business

  • PH banks not ready for Asean integration
  • Stocks down on profit-taking
  • Banks allowed to use ‘cloud’
  • SMIC to issue P15-B bonds
  • Honda upgrades PH plant
  • Technology

  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Viber releases new design for iPhone, comes to Blackberry 10 for the first time
  • Engineers create a world of difference
  • Bam Aquino becomes Master Splinter’s son after Wiki hack
  • Mark Caguioa lambasts Ginebra teammates on Twitter
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 24, 2014
  • Talking to Janet
  • Respite
  • Bucket list
  • JPII in 1981: walking a tightrope
  • Global Nation

  • 19 Ukrainians, Russians, Filipinas rescued in bar raid
  • Filipinos coming home from Mideast must obtain MERS clearance – DOH
  • US Secret Service in Manila ahead of Obama visit
  • Palace thanks Estrada for successful HK mission
  • Hong Kong accepts PH apology; sanctions also lifted
  • Marketplace