MANILA, Philippines – The Department of National Defense (DND) is investigating reports of alleged dumping of human wastes by some foreign vessels in the West Philippine Sea.
In a statement, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said he has ordered the Western command, which has jurisdiction over the West Philippine Sea, to verify the reports circulating online.
“We have taken note of the news circulating online about the alleged dumping of wastes in the South China Sea,” Lorenzana said.
Simularity, a US-based geospatial imagery firm, earlier reported that unknown ships have been dumping sewage and human wastes in the reefs of the disputed waters.
But Lorenzana expressed doubt over the report because of the photo accompanying it seemed to have been taken from a different area.
“The photo of a ship seen dumping waste accompanying the report was found to have been taken in the Australian Great Barrier Reef in 2014. Therefore, this intent to mislead has cast great doubt on the accurateness of the Simularity Report,’ he said.
“We also question the conclusion reached by Simularity from just looking at satellite photos,” he added.
Lorenzana said that while they are confirming and verifying these wastes being dumped in the West Philippine Sea, he said such irresponsible acts, if true, are considered to be gravely detrimental to the marine ecology in the area.
“Despite conflicting claims and interests by states in the South China Sea, all nations must be responsible stewards of our natural resources and environment,” he added.