Palace: Waste dumping no cause for VFA termination

by Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 12 2012 05:34 PM | Updated as of Nov 13 2012 01:34 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The Palace sees no need to terminate the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) between the Philippines and the United States despite reports about the alleged dumping of waste at Subic Bay by a US Navy contractor.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said it is the third-party contractor that has the obligation to properly dispose of the waste.

Any dumping of waste, he said, is subject to Philippine laws.
"I think it's the third-party contractor who has the obligation to ensure that their wastes are disposed off in accordance with our anti-pollution laws. And so, (since) they're a third-party contractor, they're obligated to do so regardless of whether there's VFA or not," Lacierda said.
"The wastes of a particular cruise ship would have to be disposed off in accordance with our laws. So our position is that VFA need not be terminated. This was done by a third-party contractor," he added.
Quoting Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) chairman Roberto Garcia, Lacierda said the waste involved is neither "chemical" nor "nuclear."

An investigation is also being conducted, he said.
"The toxic wastes do not involve nuclear chemical wastes. That's contrary to what some quarters have been saying. There are no chemical wastes. We're talking of organic wastes here," he explained.
While Aquino met with Garcia Monday morning, Lacierda said the issue of the alleged dumping of waste was allegedly not discussed.
Meantime, Lacierda stressed there are no basing arrangements with the United States as such would violate the Constitution.

He said the Philippines continues to acquire military hardware from various sources.