October 3, 2023








Sen. Hontiveros expresses alarm over high level of radioactivity in WPS

The West Philippine Sea (WPS) territory contested by the Philippines and China exhibits high levels of radioactivity.

This was found by the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI) and this should be a cause for concern, opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros said.

“Let us be on guard. The PNRI needs to investigate the source of this radioactive material further, as this might be from nuclear-powered warships patrolling the area,” she said.

“Alam natin na ang Tsina at Amerika ay nagpapatrol sa WPS. The tension between the US and China poses a serious threat to security and peace in the Philippines and the ASEAN region. We must not allow the WPS to become a battleground of these great powers,” she added. (We know that both China and the United States patrol the WPS.)

PNRI Director Carlo Arcilla said in a news conference that corals in the WPS have been found to have iodine-129, a radioactive material.

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, “most I-129 in the environment came from nuclear weapons testing. Atmospheric testing in the 1950s and 60s released iodine to the atmosphere. Iodine-129 has dispersed around the world, and is now found at very low levels in the environment.”

However, PNRI noted that iodine-129 level in the WPS is higher than the surrounding areas.

“Hindi puwedeng maging pugad ng nuclear weapons o nuclear-powered vessels ang ating mga karagatan at teritoryo. Panganib lang ang dala ng mga ito. We must ensure and promote a nuclear-free WPS,” Hontiveros said. (Our maritime territories should not be used as as nests for nuclear weapons or nuclear-powered vessels. These vessels bring risks.)

Hontiveros previously filed Senate Resolution 509, which seeks to investigate China’s construction of artificial islands in the WPS, especially since these islands feature long-range sensor rays, port facilities, runways, bunkers for fuel and weapons, and barracks for Chinese military personnel.

“Dapat matigil na ang anumang militarisasyon sa ating mga teritoryo. We need to examine the option of declaring the WPS a global commons and for all stakeholders, particularly China and the US, to demilitarize the WPS before it’s too late. Magkaisa tayo para sa tunay na kapayapaan,” Hontiveros added. (Militarization in our territories should stop.)