US submarine leaves PH

by Niko Baua, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 19 2012 05:23 PM | Updated as of May 20 2012 06:08 AM

MANILA, Philippines – After weeks of protests against its docking here in the Philippines, US submarine USS North Carolina has left the country.

Tourists trooped to the Subic port Saturday morning as the USS North Carolina prepared to leave.

The vessel is a nuclear-powered submarine said to be one of the most technologically advanced in the world.

“First time ko lang makakita ng submarine, so na-curious lang ako kung ano ‘yan,” said Merlita Sanchez, one of the onlookers.

In the past weeks, many protested against the docking of the US submarine even after Malacañang said its arrival had nothing to do with the ongoing dispute with China over the Scarborough Shoal.

Officials say US troops on board the submarine only stayed to rest, perform repairs and replenish their supplies.

“It was very quiet and uneventful, there was nothing. No incidents,” said Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman Roberto Garcia.

Another US submarine, the USS Tucson, was expected to arrive Saturday but the SBMA said the US Navy cancelled the submarine's arrival.

“This is either cancelled or postponed indefinitely. They did not give a reason why,” said Garcia.

According to the SBMA, it is normal for US vessels to arrive in Philippine shores under the Visiting Forces Agreement.

The agency and the Department of Foreign Affairs are often informed a month ahead of the arrival of any US vessel in the country. -- ANC