US Navy sanctions contractor for Subic waste dumping
SUBIC BAY FREEPORT, Philippines—The United States Navy has disqualified its contractor in the country from joining future bids after a Senate inquiry established the firm’s liability and recommended sanctions for dumping untreated sewage in Philippine waters near 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 Glenn Defense Marine (Asia) Pte.Ltd. (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, Japan, said in a statement e-mailed to the Inquirer.
Laron cited the results of the investigations of Philippine government agencies following the uproar over the 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 into the waste dumping incidents involving GDMA and had reviewed the result of the probe. In a Feb. 5 report, the Senate’s committee on foreign relations and the committee on environment and natural resources said GDMA had violated the country’s environmental and marine protection laws when it unloaded 200,000 liters of sewage it had collected from the 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 had failed “to comply with the government’s permitting process” and was liable for dumping untreated sewage in waters that had not been designated for that purpose by Philippine marine authorities.
The report also said that GDMA failed 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 watching if the Philippine government will 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 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 its 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 legislation 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.”
“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.
The report said the Senate committees were puzzled as to how the vessels of GDMA “managed to use port facilities without the requisite permits” from agencies like the Maritime Industry Authority or Marina.
“The liability of the Philippine Ports Authority, and other port authorities such as the SBMA, which have the mandate to control, regulate and supervise pilotage, and the operation of port facilities and services, needs to be looked into,” it said.