The promotion of Church People’s Response strongly condemns the destruction of Tubbataha Reef and the infringement of our national sovereignty by Americans. A US Navy minesweeper ran aground on Tubbataha Reef last Jan. 17. It immediately damaged the fragile, marine resource-rich protected national park. It will take decades for the damaged reef to heal.
Pending the official report on the off-course navigation of the US Navy ship, it has become apparent that the US Navy undermined our national sovereignty, encroached on a protected area and caused destruction to our natural resources, even as it violated our Constitution and international laws and regulations under the veil of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).
The Tubbataha mishap is not an isolated case as previous reports already exposed this lopsided agreement. It was only in October 2012 when Glenn Marine Defense Asia Philippines, a US Navy contractor, was caught allegedly dumping thousands of liters of untreated toxic and hazardous wastes off Subic Bay.
A ship in the joint maritime exercise of the Philippine and US governments off Basilan island last April 2012 rammed a local fishing boat causing the death of a father and serious injury to his son, not to mention the rape of a Filipino woman by a US Marine in 2009 and the various (un)reported cases of physical abuse and manhandling of taxi drivers, food servers and other ordinary workers by US military personnel. Furthermore, the presence of American troops in our country unnecessarily invites the animosity of countries hostile to the United States.
Quite (un)expectedly, we are witness to the sleek and underhanded maneuverings, legal impediments and diplomatic pressures being orchestrated by the US government at the expense of our national sovereignty, freedom and security.
Once more, the call for the abrogation of the VFA has acquired more resonance. We strongly call on the Aquino administration to exercise political will and prioritize the welfare of the Filipino people, defend our dignity as a nation and preserve the national patrimony.
Promotion of Church People’s Response,