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Subic contractor violated PH laws, say probers

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT—An independent investigation initiated by the Subic Bay Freeport Chamber of Commerce has concluded that a US Navy contractor violated Philippine laws when it dumped waste from an American ship outside Subic waters in October.

The chamber also said in its Dec. 2 report that the waste dumped by Glenn Defense Marine Asia Philippines Inc., a subsidiary of a Singapore-based company, might not have been “toxic” as defined by Philippine laws but contained pollutants that exceeded sanitation and water quality limits.

It said the dumping took place “inside the Philippine exclusive economic zone which is still covered by the Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004 (Republic Act No. 9275).”

Glenn Defense had admitted that it dumped the waste 17 nautical miles from the nearest shoreline of Subic Bay.

But the chamber investigation concluded that Glenn Defense dumped the waste in an area of Philippine seas which “was 9 nautical miles short of the PCG (Philippine Coast Guard) designated dumping point.” This meant the firm might have violated the 1973 International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, the chamber said.

Danny Piano, Subic Chamber president, said in the report that his group pursued the investigation to “make a sound judgment as to whether it would [expel] or … suspend Glenn Defense’s membership in the Subic Chamber, [or whether it would] clear it from wrongdoing, thereby retaining its membership.”

The Subic Chamber also issued a set of recommendations that may help end ocean dumping on  Philippine waters.

Glenn Defense had been accused of dumping 50,000 gallons of domestic waste from USS Emory Land without the permission of authorities like the Coast Guard.

Retired Vice Adm. Mateo Mayuga, president of Glenn Defense Marine Asia Philippines, denied the charges and said the company had followed Philippine laws.

But when he was asked to react to the chamber’s latest report, through the firm’s public relations consultant, Carolyn Esposo-Espiritu, Mayuga declined to comment.

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chair Roberto Garcia said the chamber’s report had confirmed SBMA’s own finding that “ordinary sewage water without heavy metals” had been dumped by Glenn Defense. “So that’s good,” he said, without elaborating.

Although the SBMA had investigated Glenn Defense for dumping, it had reacted strongly to descriptions that the  waste that was dumped was toxic.

“There seemed to be no question that Glenn Defense committed violations when they dumped waste without the necessary permits and by not following regulations,” the Subic Chamber report said.

It said the Oct. 15 environmental inspection report of

the SBMA’s Ecology Center and the Oct. 16 testimony of Glenn Defense ship captain Edilberto Acedilla, who commands the MT Glenn Guardian, confirmed that Glenn Defense dumped waste on Philippine waters outside Subic Bay.

The investigation failed to gather vessel tracking records of Glenn Defense from authorities but accounts and narratives provided by the firm’s captain, Mayuga and other sources led it to “assume that the waste was dumped 17 nautical miles from the nearest shoreline,” the report said.

The hauled waste was “definitely not pretreated,” the chamber said. With a report from Robert Gonzaga, Inquirer Central Luzon

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Tags: environment , Laws , Subic Bay , toxic waste , US Navy

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