US Navy sanctions Subic contractorBy Robert Gonzaga
Inquirer Central Luzon
SUBIC BAY FREEPORT—The United States Navy has disqualified its contractor in the country from joining future bids after a Philippine Senate inquiry established the firm’s liability and recommended sanctions for dumping sewage into Philippine waters off Subic Bay.
The US Navy also warned Glenn Defense Marine (Asia) Pte. Ltd. (GDMA) that should its violations continue, its current contract would be terminated.
“The US Navy’s contract with GDMA requires that it comply with applicable laws, codes and regulations as part of performing the work in the contract and provides remedies the contracting officer can take if GDMA fails to meet those requirements,” Sky Laron, director of corporate communications at the Naval Supply Systems Command (Navsup) Fleet Logistics Center Yokosuka, said in a statement sent by e-mail to the Inquirer.
Laron cited the results of the investigations conducted by Philippine government agencies following the uproar over the dumping issue last year.
“As a result of the contracting officer’s review of the investigation report of late November 2012 by the Marine Environmental Protection Command of the Philippine Coast Guard, the US Navy’s contracting officer cited GDMA for noncompliant work (work that was performed that did not comply with Philippine laws, codes or regulations) and noted its failure to comply with contract terms for consideration in future competitions,” he said.
He said the US Navy had followed the Senate investigation of the waste dumping incidents involving GDMA and had reviewed the result of the probe.
In a Feb. 5 report, the Senate committees on foreign relations and on environment and natural resources said GDMA violated the country’s environmental and marine protection laws when it unloaded 200,000 liters of sewage it had collected from US Navy ship USS Emory Land near Subic Bay in October last year.
The report, sponsored by Sen. Loren Legarda, chair of the committee on foreign relations, said GDMA failed “to comply with the government’s permitting process” and was liable for dumping the untreated sewage in sea waters that had not been designated for that purpose by Philippine marine authorities.
The report also cited GDMA’s failure to acquire “the necessary accreditation as a hazardous waste collector and transporter.”
Laron said the US Navy was aware of the report from the Senate investigation “and intends to fully cooperate with the Philippine government in its enforcement of its laws, codes and regulations.”
He said the US Navy was also monitoring whether the Philippine government would initiate cases against GDMA for its offenses.
“[The US Navy] will be following with interest actions that may follow from the report’s recommendation that the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) initiate administrative proceedings against GDMA for its failure to comply with applicable environmental and marine protection laws and regulations,” he said.
“The US Navy remains a committed steward of the environment and places a high priority on the protection of ocean water quality and marine life,” Laron said.
The Senate report also said GDMA’s case highlighted the government’s failure to protect the marine environment despite an extensive body of laws.
“The laws and policies governing marine pollution control in the Philippines are anchored on at least 25 legislative and policy mechanisms,” the report said.
“The case at hand is a classic illustration of how legislation remains good on paper, but is unable to achieve the policy goals defined in these laws,” it said.
“There is no formal coordinating mechanism between and among the DENR, PCG and SBMA with respect to the enforcement of marine protection laws, particularly in areas under the administrative supervision of SBMA. It is precisely in the absence of such coordinating mechanism that Glenn Defense was able to impose its own interpretation of our laws, rules and regulations, with neither the SBMA, DENR nor PCG intervening in ways that public interest will be upheld,” it said.