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Filipino Lawmaker Wants Investigation Into Docking of U.S. Nuclear Vessels

A Filipino lawmaker is calling for a congressional investigation regarding whether the docking of atomic-powered U.S. submarines and other naval vessels in Subic Bay represents a breach of the prohibition against nuclear weapons anywhere in the Philippines, the local Business World newspaper reported on Tuesday (see GSN, Jan. 20).

Representative Luzviminda Ilagan announced in a Monday statement that she intended to formally call for a probe into the business agreement between U.S. ship manufacturer AMSEC Huntington Ingalls and Hanjin Heavy Industries, which is based in Subic Bay.

As a signatory of the 1995 Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone Treaty, the Philippines is forbidden from developing, manufacturing, acquiring or hosting nuclear weapons.

"Our constitution explicitly bans nuclear weapons," said Ilagan, a member of the leftist Gabriela Women's Party. "The port calls of these U.S. nuclear submarines being done supposedly for maintenance and repairs in Subic Bay is a direct breach of the constitution."

"If AMSEC-HII's contract with Hanjin Heavy Industries allows this direct attack on our constitution and our nation's sovereignty, then it should immediately be canceled," the lawmaker said.

"We have strong reason to suspect that this partnership is being used by the U.S. government to effectively circumvent the constitutional ban on nuclear weapons and reactivate its bases in the Philippines," she asserted (Business World, June 26).

NTI Analysis