Published: November 14, 2012
Joining a rally this morning in front of the US Embassy in Manila, workers led by labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno called for the junking of the Visiting Forces Agreement in the wake of reports that toxic wastes from the US Navy were dumped in the country’s territorial waters.
The labor center condemned the Aquino government for saying that the VFA should not be terminated because Glenn Defense Marine, the third-party contractor which dumped toxic wastes in Subic Bay, is not covered by the agreement.
“The company which dumped the toxic wastes into Philippine waters may not be covered by the VFA, but the US ships which brought or created the toxic wastes surely are. That is a clear basis for junking the VFA,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.
“The logical conclusion is to hold Glenn Defense Marine responsible for its crime AND to immediately junk the VFA. Doing the first without doing the second is simply absurd,” he added.
“It is unacceptable if the US hires a different third-party service contractor and continues to bring or create in these toxic wastes inside the country’s territory. We will be forever in danger of being a dumping ground for toxic wastes,” he said.
KMU cited a 1992 US General Accounting Office report saying that there are cites in the former US bases in Clark andSubic that were contaminated by toxic wastes. (Please see this link: www.yonip.com/index/-
“This is not the first time that the US dumped toxic wastes into the country. If only for the dumping of these toxic wastes, we should not allow US troops and ships to enter the Philippines again,” Labog said.
“It is deeply revolting to see the Aquino government bending backwards and defying reason to retain the VFA and maintain the country as a training ground for US troops and a dumping ground for US toxic wastes,” he added.
“These toxic wastes are destructive to the environment, disastrous for our people’s health, and insulting to the dignity of Filipinos everywhere. A self-respecting government will junk the agreement responsible for these wastes in no time,” he said.
The labor leader called on the country’s workers and people to show their love of country and join protests for the junking of the VFA.