Learn from Tubbataha incident, ban US ships

Feb. 03, 2013

Media Release
2 February 2013

National labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) condemned the docking of another US nuclear attack submarine at the former US naval base in Subic Bay, Zambales saying the US is blatantly violating our national sovereignty and threatening our environment.

KMU also condemned the Aquino government for upholding the Visiting Forces Agreement which it said is being used by the US government to justify unhampered entry into the country’s territory.

The USS Cheyenne is a nuclear attack submarine which arrived in the country for what the US Embassy said was a “routine port visit.”  The sub would travel the same route as the USS Guardian, the minesweeper that scraped the Tubbataha coral reefs.

“They haven’t even removed USS Guardian from Tubbataha, yet here they come again and with a nuclear-powered vessel.  They haven’t been held accountable for the damage that they have caused to our environment, yet here they come again arrogantly barging in and violating our country’s sovereignty,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.

“The problem is that the Aquino administration is being a shameless US lackey in continuing to allow US vessels to enter our national territory and undermine our integrity as a sovereign nation at will.  The one-sidedness of the VFA as an agreement is swiftly being exposed by the entry of US military forces into the country and Aquino’s puppetry,” he added.

KMU also said that the Aquino administration should have learned from the Tubbataha incident and totally ban US naval vessels from entering our seas so as to prevent them from destroying our national treasures.

“If he really takes the country’s status as a sovereign nation seriously, Aquino should have learned from the Tubbataha incident that US ships pose a threat to our environment.  He could have implemented a total ban of US ships at least until the investigation on the USS Guardian is finished,” Labog said.

“Aquino’s callous permission for and defense of the entry of this nuclear powered submarine into our country shows the world just how unthinking his obedience to the US is.  The persistence of US vessels in travelling the same route makes us ask: What is the US up to this time?” he said.

“We would have never dicovered the damage in our coral reefs had the USS Guardian not been stuck there. The new submarine would be travelling the same route and we fear that it could cause more damage to our environment without us knowing,” he added.

Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson, 0908-1636597

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