MANILA, July 14 (Mabuhay) — The Department of National Defense (DND) on Tuesday said it is now looking into reports of alleged human waste dumping by Chinese vessels in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

“We have taken note of the news circulating online about the alleged dumping of waste in the South China Sea. Be that as it may, I have directed the Western Command who has jurisdiction over the WPS to verify and investigate,” Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said in a statement.

This came after Simularity, a US-based geospatial imagery firm, reported that Chinese ships have been dumping sewage and human waste in the reefs of the disputed waters.

“However, 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. We also question the conclusion reached by Simularity from just looking at satellite photos,” he added.

Lorenzana also said while the Philippines has yet to confirm if these wastes are indeed being dumped in the WPS, he said such irresponsible acts, if proven true, will cause grave damage to marine life in the region.

“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. (MNS)

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