save tubbataha, not the “guardian”!

u.s. authorities have yet to explain what exactly the u.s.s. guardian was up to when it ran aground and got stuck in palawan’s tubbataha reef, an area that’s supposed to be off limits to navigation except for research or tourism approved by the marine park superintendent.

… officials tasked with managing and protecting the restricted area said their rangers had tried to warn the US ship, only to allegedly be rebuffed by the vessel’s captain with advice to take any complaints to the US embassy.

american arrogance to the max.  nakakainit ng ulo.  and since the ship got stuck, a full week ago, we’ve heard nothing but lame excuses — inaccurate maps?  come on, guys, we weren’t born yesterday.  R & R, as some suggest, a sidetrip to scuba-dive and check out one of the best reefs in the world, sounds really believable, or even, looking for more lost drones, why not, and even, oil exploration, a la you-know-who you-know-where.

but what’s really maddening is that all that’s issuing from the philippine side are demands for apologies and talks of fines and penalties.  no one’s demanding that the ship be removed ASAP, as in, NOW NA!  i know i know, the weather’s bad, the waves are huge, but what if the weather doesn’t get better, what if it gets worse?   sorry na lang the reef?  does not the damage to the reef get worse the longer the ship is left there, getting more and more stuck, yet changing position, and now taking in water?

i’m beginning to wonder if the u.s. navy is more concerned about damage to the ship than damage to the reef.  sana naman hindi.


    • American and Filipino divers were under the ship trying to assess the situation today. Seas have been rough, which is why all sailors were taken off the ship. The American priority is: (1) lives, (2) ship, (3) rocks. The Filipino priority would appear to be (1) rocks, (2) ship, (3) lives, so long as they are American.

      It was an accident. Relax. President Aquino is getting regular reports. Trust me, he is more concerned about China’s intentional acts to disregard Philippine territory than an accident which people are diligently working on understanding and solving.

    • That is mostly semantics. The courts freed Smith. You are declaring him guilty. I’ll go with the courts. It was a bad night by TWO inebriated and irresponsible people, and it got emotionally blown way out of perspective. Just like the above article. It is irresponsible. It is lynch mob journalism.

  1. manuel buencamino

    “a sidetrip to scuba-dive”.

    Reminds me of that scene in Apocalypse Now where they went to a beach and surfed before incinerating a vietnamese village.

    Sidetrip. That’s probably why the ship was there. But now it’s time to do something.

    First, save lives then save the reef then the ship. Maybe they can just sink the ship so that new coral can grow on it. And then fines and penalties (1) on the US Navy for making captain a sailor who does not know how to navigate and (2) on the ship’s officers for ignorance, stupidity, and arrogance.

    • Why does arrogance keep coming up? It is becoming a racially offensive term to me. Easy to paint on earnest people who are serving their country, and in this case, the Philippines. You will have to excuse me, but Americans highly value the service-people who put their lives at risk for us. Maybe Filipinos don’t value their troops the same way. American servicemen would, if ordered, put their lives at risk for the Philippines, and the most honor you can give them is “arrogant”?

      • And I’d like to hear tapes or read a transcript of all communications between Philippine Park Rangers and the USS Guardian before concluding the ship was properly warned. That is a predecessor fact to the presumption of “arrogance” accusation.

      • manuel buencamino


        No need to get all riled up. No racism here. We don’t even know the color of that idiot captain’s skin.

        My comment is only about one stupid ship captain who couldn’t sail a ship equipped with high tech navigation equipment and who was blissfully ignorant that the area around the Tubbataha Reef is off-limits.

        We value our servicemen like you do yours.

        • Perhaps the “idoit” captain was following orders like a disciplined sailor. Ordered to sail out of the main shipping channel. Ordered to ignore ranger radio calls. Ordered to not let anybody aboard. Maybe he is the kind of disciplined fighting professional a navy needs in time of war. Again, I say people are convicting without trial.

          • I agree, somebody screwed up. That person, trust me, will find his Navy career over and done with. But stop the assumptions and the lynching of people before the information is clear. Give the navy time to give the people involved THEIR due justice. This isn’t exactly a nation that does its OWN justice speedily; why the demand for heads here?

          • The point is to find out who made the mistake and why. The Navy does not accept mistakes that result in the loss of very expensive ships. My point is that the military has rules and disciplines that do not always allow individuals the latitude to do what THEY would want. It is called orders. The trial should come after the evidence is gathered, and to characterize someone, perhaps wrongly, as stupid, idiot, or arrogant, is missing entirely the point of innocent until proven guilty. ESPECIALLY if that person is willing to give his life to defend the Philippines.

  2. I think Joe America is right. This article sucks. I’m Filipino.

    If you’ve ever been part of any technical field (e.g. armed services, engineering, etc.) you know that shit happens and no amount of protesting and petitioning and task force investigations will speed up the process of recovery. In fact, they’re downright annoying and the last thing any engineering or problem-solving team needs to listen to, they’re stressed out as it is getting things done.

    I actually find the declaration of fines by the PH govt to be a bit premature. They should be ready to assist to get the ship off. And ONLY THEN do an assessment of the damage, file charges if they want, whatever. The way the local media seems to be salivating at premature punishments is sickening.

  3. i think anyone who believes that America is in this country FOR Filipinos is insane. also hasn’t read enough history books.

    dear Angela, i wish there was a filter for amboys so that all their comments would automatically go to the folder: crap.

    • Ah, the perky girl of quick, sharp tongue who studies history and determines that free speech means speech is free as long as you say what she likes. And who is an amazingly diligent and psychic psychiatrist who is able to determine sanity from a blogging note. And who knows more about American values and interests than Americans. Cool.

  4. oh America the beautiful! you can do no wrong!

    you should also tell Americans to stop being so defensive for your soldiers, as that reveals exactly what’s wrong with American (neo-)colonialism.

    and no, no colonizer has the right to speak as if they gifted us with THAT.

    • No, actually America does many wrongs. I invite you to read my commentary done a few years ago, regarding the Philippine American War. It is lengthy, but may help you decide you have me, and perhaps many Americans, in the wrong bucket. As for the soldiers, the US is getting out of Afghanistan and Iraq because the people saw the error of continuing mistake-laden President George Bush’s ways. What you call neo-colonialism, we call a War on Terror. I suppose it all depends on where the bombs and airplanes are aimed as to one’s perspective on that. As for our military people, we honor them because they put their lives on the line for our right to speak freely and live safely. Again, what is defensive to you is honorable to us because we are rich with gratitude for the soldiers who execute the will of the State, whether they agree with the political aims or not. And die in places like the Philippines in the doing of that.

      The link you, as a historian might appreciate, is:

  5. Methinks the mother and daughter should not feed the Joe America troll. We’ve heard how AGHAM, WWF-PH and many other respectable and scientific institutions have already weighed in on this matter, and it is clear that the USS Guardian has no business being there, has done much damage to our world heritage site, has reacted too arrogantly for their own good and is now scot-free from languishing in our hails.

    I’ve seen this character proliferate in Rappler and other news sites with that same rabid apologism for his country. And he will continue to spin any criticism of the US Government’s class war against the peoples of the world as mere ‘racist’ hatin’ and potatin’. It would be best to just ignore this old demagogue.

    • @leon, Be sure to read my blog article this coming Monday. The old demagogue deals with arrogance and other matters you might want to reflect on.

      We all come at things from our own background. I’ve learned a lot from Filipinos who have taken the time, and had the patience, to teach me, rather than read riot. If you cull through my blogs you’ll find some perspectives that may astound you. And the real question is, for those who are quick with the word “arrogant”, do you have the flexibility of mind to listen and learn, or are you shut off from learning by biases.

      • I believe the Tubattaha reef crash mishap is a tactical move deliberately planted to serve a US radar and advanced warning post to Chinese naval fleet. There is no doubt that the captain of USS Guardian minesweeper ship has other secret orders for ignoring our maritime authorities under the disguise of search & destroy mines in the disputed islands. Hence, rehab and voluntary “peace” watchers were offered to assist us patrol our borders. Part of a US pivotal strategic presence in the Philippine seas. We should welcome such move since our Armed Forces are not that equip to deter Chinese bullying tactics.

    • ahahahaha! The case of the accidental rape. I tell you, when emotions over-rule rational thought all kinds of weirdos creep out of the legalistic woodwork. Meanwhile, Chinese boats sit atop a Philippine rock gang-raping it and y’all swim the other way pretending you don’t see it.

    • interesting: serious question angela, don’t the philippine interests and US interests in keeping the peace in this region dovetail?

      kung ayaw natin na mag port of call sila sa pinas, what about naval security? wont our borders be even less secure than they are now?

        • thanks 4 the reply, but i wonder: transparency about what?

          ano ang hindi claro? di ba claro kung bakit nanduun ang minesweeper? kung ano ang nangyari?

          what information do you want/need? more importantly, will you be satisfied by this?

          alot of people who want transparency tend to want something specific, as opposed to something general. do u want something specific?

      • Superb question, Gabby D. Right to the point. I think interests are the same. But the alliance is not “we” right now. I agree with Angela’s last point that the U.S. needs to be more candid and honorable in dealing forthrightly with Philippine representativess, whether they be park rangers, generals, or Sec. Del Rosario. And Filipinos need to be more . . . um, appreciative and respectful . . . for the sacrifices that American sailors and soldiers are willing to make for the Philippines, if so ordered. My current blog has an interesting discussion going as to some of these points.

        Frankly, if the current tenor of the alliance continues, I’d recomment the US tear up the VFA and set up shop in Guam. The US has fought three recent wars in nations that did not want them there, and we don’t need a fourth. It’s lose/lose for sure.

    • Hard geopolitical realities dictate that Aquino admin muSt kowtow to US security blanket legalized by an onerouz VFA which iz advantageous to the Superpower. ItS not a question anymore of dignified sovereignty but a short term option for economic survival. Whatever critics may throw at our govt., we must patriotically support our leaders. This is the only way we can Assert our identity as an independent & democratic state, nothing degrading to a people whoz national poverty defines its policy.

      • How is the US advantaged by the VFA? I’m not seeing it myself. The US agrees to sent her troops to die defending a thankless group of islands in the middle of the ocean. She agrees to train Filipino soldiers in the best American military schools, taking up slots that are then denied to Americans. Her citizens neither know nor care nor appreciate the opportunity and honor, and they shrug off the hours of joint exercises aimed at building a JOINT fighting force as if “we deserve that.” I’m trying to figure out what to do if my friends in America asked if the Philippines is worth dying for, and I’m having a hard time coming up with reasons it is.

        • jojie-die hard Pinoy


        • jojie-die hard Pinoy

          Joe Amboy, it is not in the details of the VFA nor in the benevolent military training of soldierz which r mutually beneficial to both parties, but the UNWRITTEN discrimination on the inblance treatment of US nationals who violates or intentionlly avoid penalties for crimes committed against local and/or domestic laws. Such unfair treatment between nationals of US vis Filipinos are protected even under protest by our govt which most of the time are inutile and defeated due to US self-interest.

          • jojie-die hard Pinoy

            No, Joe Amboy, it is not a perception nor an irrational conclusion but historical realities recorded in our court cases latest of which was the Nicole-Smith case. This may also extend to the rights of US Filipino veterans who continue not to be given their equitable economic rights as co-defender in last World War II defending such idealism as freedom and democracy.

          • The Filipino vets indeed got a bad deal. In 1946, the US paid the Philippines $200 million that was a short-term, lump-sum payout to end its long term obligation to pay veteran’s benefits. This effectively transferred the obligation to the Philippines. The question that needs to be asked is, what happened to that $200 million? Can you imagine how much money that would represent if properly invested as an annuity over 50 years?

            The question is, who made this “deal”, and why? It needs to be asked of Filipinos and Americans.

            The notion that America just walked away from Filipino veterans is one of the most amazing mistruths that Filipinos quote to justify anger at America.

            What happened to the $200 million?

  6. detarte

    a chinese vessel also crashed their ship in tubataha reef much worse damage than what the uss has done. So far the chinese government is silence about the incident. The US is willing to pay for the damaes has done and the uss guardian is no more. What can u say now?