The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) said on Nov. 13 that the U.S. military should be held equally liable for the dumping of toxic waste as its defense contractor, Glenn Defense Marine Philippines. The waste was collected from U.S. naval warships and dumped in Subic Bay last October.
Last week, investigations being conducted by the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) were made public, revealing that tankers owned by Glenn Defense Marine dumped 189,500 liters of untreated human waste and 760 liters of bilge water (oil and grease) collected from U.S. Navy Ship Emory Land in Subic Bay waters.
Officials of Glenn Defense Marine claim that the toxic waste was dumped 37 kilometers off shore, well within the territory of the Philippines. There are indicators, however, that the dumping was done closer to shore.
Glenn Defense Marine Philippines is a subsidiary of Glenn Defense Asia, which has been servicing the U.S. Navy for several decades. It is also currently facing another case of dumping toxic waste at Manila Bay in 2011.
“The secret dumping of toxic waste at Subic Bay is an affront to Philippine sovereignty by the U.S. Navy and its defense contractor,” said the CPP. “It shows their utter disregard for the environment and the health of Filipinos. They completely ignored local and international regulations that require the treatment of toxic waste prior to disposal.”
Glenn Defense Marine initially invoked the Visiting Forces Agreement, claiming that its Philippine operations are carried out under the auspices of the U.S. Navy. The U.S. Embassy in the Philippines has distanced itself from the toxic waste dumping incident, claiming that
Glenn Defense Marine is a private firm that is not covered by the Visiting Forces Agreement. Officials of the Aquino government have echoed the position of the U.S. Embassy.
“However, a U.S.-directed cover-up seems to be in operation at the moment, with efforts to challenge the findings of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority that the waste dumped off the Subic Bay coast was toxic,” said the CPP. Glenn Defense Marine officials now claim that what it disposed off was “waste water” already treated aboard the U.S. warship, insisting that this is the waste-disposal arrangement they have with the U.S. Navy. The Phillipine government has already taken the side of the Glenn Defense Marine and the U.S. Navy, as Aquino’s spokesman asserted that what was dumped was “organic waste” and not “toxic waste.”
“By having exclusively contracted Glenn Defense Marine to service its naval warships, the U.S. military should be made equally liable for the criminal act of dumping toxic waste which transgresses Philippine sovereignty,” said the CPP. “Glenn Defense Marine should be punished for the toxic waste dumping, but should not be made a scapegoat for the crimes which the U.S. military is equally responsible for.”
“This incident of toxic waste dumping also reminds the Filipino people of the continuing refusal of the U.S. government to clean up its toxic waste left at its former military bases in Clark and Subic,” said the CPP. “It also should bring back to the fore of public attention the U.S. government’s stockpiling of nuclear weapons, which was revealed in recently declassified U.S. government documents. The U.S. government has yet to divulge the details of such stockpiling and whether nuclear weapons stored in the Philippines have already been properly removed and cleaned up.”