MANILA, Philippines—Millions of liters of sewage wastes were dumped in the Philippine waters by US Navy contractor Glenn Defense Marine Asia without proper permits from the government, Senator Loren Legarda, who headed an investigation into the waste dumping incident in Subic Bay in October, said Wednesday.
“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,” Legarda said in a statement.
“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 (SBMA),” Legarda said after the joint investigation of the Senate committees on foreign relations and environment and natural resources into the incident.
Legarda said that Glenn Defense was guilty of violating Philippine laws when its tanker, MT Glenn Guardian, dumped sewage wastes collected from US Navy ships 37 kilometers off Subic, last October 15.
She said that Glenn Defense, the Philippine arm of a Singapore-based company that operates in 27 countries providing marine husbanding services, had been doing the practice over the past several years.
The estimated 200,000 liters of sewage that the MT Glenn Guardian collected from the US Navy ship Emory Land had previously been found to be in excess of the toxicity standards set by the DENR.
According to records provided by Subic Water to the investigating committee, some 4,025,000 liters of sewage were collected from the USS Emory Land alone from October 15, 2012 to November 19, 2012.
The records also showed that “a total of 357 US vessels visited the Philippines from 2007 to October 2012, and 56 percent or 191 ships were serviced by Glenn Defense. From January to October 22, 2012 alone, Glenn Defense serviced a total of 39 ships.”
The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) also found that the wastes were dumped by Glenn Defense outside of designated dumping sites, Legarda said.
Legarda urged the Presidential Commission on the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFACOM) to ensure “respect for Philippine laws, state policies, and strict compliance with the rules and regulations promulgated by the concerned departments and agencies.”
“The DENR and the PCG should pro-actively carry out their mandated functions in relation to marine pollution control,” Legarda said.
“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,” she added.
Legarda, in her investigation report, recommended that administrative and criminal proceedings be conducted against Glenn Defense. She said that the firm could be blacklisted if necessary.
“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,” Legarda said.
This was in order to “ensure … ‘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 added.
Lagarda urged government agencies to put the Philippine interests ahead of treaties.
“Our government agencies need to understand that in any agreement or gtreaty, national interest is first and second to none,” Legarda said.