SBMA chair says waste not dumped in Subic Bay

Posted at 11/23/12 10:27 PM

MANILA, Philippines – Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman Roberto Garcia clarified on Friday that the waste dumped by US Navy contractor Glenn Defense Marine Philippines was not dumped in Subic Bay.

“The impression was that it was dumped in Subic Bay, and that is completely not true. Based on the ship logs of Glenn Marine, it was dumped 32 kilometers away from the nearest point of land,” Garcia told ANC’s “Prime Time”.

He also assured the public that Subic Bay is safe, based on the findings that toxic waste was not dumped in the area.

“The term used for what was dumped in the high seas is sewage. Sewage, for the information of the public, refers to basically toilet waste,” he said.

Garcia also noted that SBMA is closely coordinating with the Philippine Coast Guard to determine what actions to take after the investigation.

“My responsibility is to ensure that Subic Bay is kept clean and safe. Once it goes out of Subic Bay, it becomes a Coast Guard matter and it becomes subject to international laws on marine pollution and based on the initial findings that it was dumped beyond the minimum limit set, in that sense, Subic is safe,” he said.

Garcia said he will meet with Coast Guard officials on Monday to compare findings.

“The matter is under investigation. While it is true that it was dumped away from Subic Bay, we have to assure ourselves that it was done in the proper manner and the ship logs [are accurate]. We just have to do our due diligence,” he said.

Meanwhile, waste dumping operations of US contractor Glenn Defense Marine Philippines as well as other waste service contractors in Subic Bay have been suspended pending investigation.

“We are requiring now all ships in Subic to discharge their sewage into land-based bankers. Because under that scenario, our ecology center requires permits for anybody who is going to haul waste from ships,” said Garcia.

The suspension stands until the final investigation is over, he added.