Dear Colleagues,

Sharing with you CEC’s latest statement regarding the opening of the annual US-PH military exercises yesterday.

War games are not beneficial to the people and the environment

Regards,
April

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War games are not beneficial to the people and the environment
Center for Environmental Concerns-Philippines

09 May 2018
Press Statement

The Center for Environmental Concerns-Philippines expresses its deep concerns over the opening of the mutual defense exercises this year between the US and Philippine armed forces. This annual war game between the two countries is the second under the Duterte administration, and is expected to deploy 8,000 troops in the selected areas such as Cagayan Valley and parts of Central Luzon under the guise of humanitarian and disaster response.

“War games with foreign troops are not beneficial both to the people and to the environment, it bring threats of human rights violations as well as degradation of local ecosystems and resources,” explained Owen Migraso, Executive Director of CEC.

The CEC has been critical over foreign war activities and its potential impacts to the Philippine environment. In 2014, it led a roundtable discussion on the potential impacts and possible extent of damage of the construction of Chinese military bases to the marine ecosystem and resources in the West Philippine Sea. At the same time, it led researches on ground impacts of military activities to the local ecosystems where they are located.

In recent years, the incident of the Minesweeper USS Guardian running aground the Tubbataha Reef Natural Park and the dumping of 4 million liters of seawage and bilge water into Subic Bay by the MT Glenn Guardian, a tanker of the US Navy’s private contractor Glenn Defense Marine Asia were proof that presence of foreign military troops in the country violates environmental standards.

This is aside from the decades of contamination of soil and water sources near the the Clark, Subic and Olongapo bases, the previously biggest military base complex outside of the US. This has affected surrounding communities. Toxic chemicals ranging from heavy metals to persistent organic pollutants (POPs) were discovered to have been left in the former US bases, polluting surrounding water supplies.

“This year’s Balikatan exercises and the Duterte administration allowing it and implementing the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) is a proof that it disregards the environment and the Filipino people’s welfare, as well as the country’s sovereign rights,” Migraso added.###


April Porteria
Coordinator, Local and International Networking
Center for Environmental Concerns – Philippines
26 Matulungin Street, Barangay Central, Diliman, Quezon City 1100
+632 356 2166 | april@cecphils.org | www.cecphils.org