2013 Tubbataha mishap


Licensed under CC Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivative 3.0 Philippine license.


I. Background
II. Considerations
    A. Innocent Passage, and Sea Lanes
    B. Visiting Forces Agreement
III. Senate Bill 2738
IV. Proper Penalties, including Fine, and Compensation for Damages
V. Demand for US accountability


I. Background

The Tubbataha Reef Marine Park, located in the Philippines, is a UNESCO heritage site, as listed since 1993. [1] The park is protected under Philippine law, through Republic Act 10067. [2]

On 17 January 2013, the USS Guardian, a minesweeper belonging to the United States Navy (US Navy), after refueling at Subic in the Philippines, ran aground at the Tubbataha Reef Marine Park. [3] The ship ran aground after the ship captain allegedly ignored warnings from the Tubbataha Management Office (TMO), the body administering the park. [4] [5] It is also alleged that “[t]he ship’s commander ordered a general alert and deployed personnel into battle position when [Philippine TMO] rangers tried to approach their ship to assess the situation, forcing them to back off.” [6] The US Navy [7], and subsequently the US Embassy in the Philippines [8], have issued apologies, limited to the grounding of the USS Guardian and the resultant damage to the corals. The Philippine president, Benigno Aquino III, allegedly have said that the US apology is insufficient [9], while a Philippine legislator allegedly requested the Philippine government to request official apology from US President Obama himself and to pursue demands for higher compensation for the damage. [10]

II. Considerations

While the US Navy blamed faulty navigational charts for the mishap, [11] the blame obviously falls squarely with the ship’s captain and navigator. The charts did not steer the ship, nor ignored local authorities. The Philippines awaits the US official explanation,[12].

The presence of the US ship within the Philippines can only be premised under two scenarios: (1) that which relates to right to innocent passage, and (2) that which relates to the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).

A. Innocent Passage, and Sea Lanes

It was reported that the USS Guardian was on its way to Indonesia after its fuel stop in Subic. It may be claimed that it is pursuing innocent passage over Philippine archipelagic waters at the time of the mishap, but no official declaration from the US Navy provides for this.

The Philippines adheres to the UN Convention on the Law of the Seas (UNCLOS), while the United States has signed the convention but has not ratified it as of this date. Nevertheless, the United States recognizes the Convention as general international law.

Innocent passage, although applied to coastal states under Part II, Article 19 of UNCLOS, is defined as:

1. Passage is innocent so long as it is not prejudicial to the peace, good order or security of the coastal State. Such passage shall take place in conformity with this Convention and with other rules of international law.

2. Passage of a foreign ship shall be considered to be prejudicial to the peace, good order or security of the coastal State if in the territorial sea it engages in any of the following activities:

(a) any threat or use of force against the sovereignty, territorial integrity or political independence of the coastal State, or in any other manner in violation of the principles of international law embodied in the Charter of the United Nations;

(b) any exercise or practice with weapons of any kind;

(c) any act aimed at collecting information to the prejudice of the defence or security of the coastal State;

(d) any act of propaganda aimed at affecting the defence or security of the coastal State;

(e) the launching, landing or taking on board of any aircraft;

(f) the launching, landing or taking on board of any military device;

(g) the loading or unloading of any commodity, currency or person contrary to the customs, fiscal, immigration or sanitary laws and regulations of the coastal State;

(h) any act of wilful and serious pollution contrary to this Convention;

(i) any fishing activities;

(j) the carrying out of research or survey activities;

(k) any act aimed at interfering with any systems of communication or any other facilities or installations of the coastal State;

(l) any other activity not having a direct bearing on passage.

The purpose of such innocent passage is for the continuous and expeditious transit of ships belonging to any nation. Nevertheless, it should be noted that Part III, Section 49(4) of the UNCLOS provides:

4. The regime of archipelagic sea lanes passage established in this Part shall not in other respects affect the status of the archipelagic waters, including the sea lanes, or the exercise by the archipelagic State of its sovereignty over such waters and their air space, bed and subsoil, and the resources contained therein.

The UNCLOS does not discriminate upon ships conducting innocent passage on a country’s territorial and archipelagic waters, including straits. This is different from the prior viewpoint of Elihu Root, agent for the United States government in the North Atlantic Fisheries Arbitration of 1910, that “warships possessed no right of innocent passage because they constitute a menace and threatened the coastal state.” [13]

It is highly inconsistent for the United States to claim “innocent passage” herein, under a modern view, but negate the exercise of sovereignty of the Philippines in its own territory, under an antiquated colonial viewpoint. If the TMO account is accurate, which appears to be so [14], the actuations of the captain of the USS Guardian did not respect Philippine authorities and laws, while the ship conducted its “innocent passage” in Philippine archipelagic waters. The Philippines does not need the consent of the US Embassy here, as if it is the Philippine Commission during the American colonial era, to exercise its sovereignty over its territory, especially in the protection of its maritime resources.

B. Visiting Forces Agreement

On the other hand, it is unclear whether the USS Guardian was in the Philippines within the context of the Visiting Forces Agreement between the Philippines and the United States, since there is no confirmation from either the Philippine or the United States government on the matter.

If it were covered by the VFA, the actuations of the ship captain cannot be justified therein. Article II of the VFA provides:

It is the duty of United States personnel to respect the laws of the Republic of the Philippines and to abstain from any activity inconsistent with the spirit of this agreement, and, in particular, from any political activity in the Philippines. The Government of the United States shall take all measures within its authority to ensure that this is done.

If the VFA applies, and for violation of RA 10067, the ship captain and the navigator are within the criminal jurisdiction of the Philippines, pursuant to Article V of the VFA. [15]

The Philippine government should inform its people as to the actual arrangements with the United States regarding this warship, even if it would just to clarify whether its presence here is pursued under the VFA or not. Such clarification would help in avoiding assumptions that pollute discussions on the subject/incident.

III. Senate Bill 2738

On a related note, it could be observed that the Philippines does not seem to have designated sea lanes in its archipelagic waters, [16] inasmuch as since 10 March 2011, Senate Bill 2738 (SB 2738), filed by Senator Antonio Trillanes III, remains pending in the Senate Committee. [17] In the absence of designated sea lanes, Article 53 (12), of UNCLOS, apply, to wit:

If an archipelagic State does not designate sea lanes or air routes, the right of archipelagic sea lanes passage may be exercised through the routes normally used for international navigation.

If the route taken by the USS Guardian is normally used for international navigation within the Philippine archipelagic waters, and if such route is proximate to the marine park, the possibility of such incident is not far fetched. Even if SB 2738 becomes law in the future, the risk of ship grounding at the Tubbataha reef may still be the same if the designated sea lanes remains contiguous to the marine park. Hence, if SB 2738 should be pursued, a study on proposed Archipelagic Sea Lanes 2 and 3 should be taken to minimize the possibility of incidents similar to the present one, as the proposed lanes may similarly straddle the marine park.

IV. Proper Penalties, including Fine, and Compensation for Damages

Sections 19, 21, 26(G), 30 and 31 of Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park (TRNP) Act of 2009 provide:

Section 19. Unauthorized Entry, Enjoyment or Use. – No person or entity shall enter, enjoy or utilize any portion of the TRNP and the resources therein for whatever purpose without prior permission from the TPAMB as herein provided.

The TRNP shall be off-limits to navigation, except for activities that are sanctioned by the TPAMB such as, but not limited to, tourism and research. Except in emergency situations, it shall be unlawful to enter the TRNP without prior permission from the TPAMB or the PASu as herein provided. It shall also be unlawful to enter, enjoy or use for any purpose any prohibited management zone. This rule shall similarly apply to the use of vessels, gears and equipment in management zones where such are not allowed.

Violation of this section shall be subject to imprisonment of not less than six (6) months but not more than one (1) year imprisonment and a fine of One hundred thousand pesos (P100,000.00) but not more than Three hundred thousand pesos (P300,000.00), as may be determined by the TPAMB. If the violator is a commercial fisher/fisherfolk, the penalty shall be imprisonment of not less than one (1) year but not more than three (3) years and a fine of Five hundred thousand pesos (P500,000.00).

Section 21. Non-payment of Conservation Fees. – It shall be unlawful for any person or entity to enjoy or utilize the TRNP and the resources therein without payment of conservation fees as may be imposed by the TPAMB.

Violators of this section shall, in addition to the payment of the conservation fee, pay the administrative fine of double the amount of the conservation fee set by the TPAMB for the activity undertaken.

Section 26. Hunting, Catching, Fishing, Killing, Taking, Gathering, Removing, Destroying, Disturbing or Possessing Resources. – It shall be unlawful for any person to actually or attempt to hunt, catch, fish, kill, take, gather, remove, destroy, disturb or possess any resource, whether living or nonliving, or products derived therefrom. The unauthorized entry of a vessel in the TRNP shall be prima facie evidence of violation of this section.

Violations of this section shall be punished as follows:

xxx

(g)Where the violations of this section are not covered by the preceding paragraphs, the penalty shall be imprisonment of three (3) years to six (6) years; fine of not less than One hundred thousand pesos (P100,000.00) but not more than Three hundred thousand pesos (P300,000.00); and forfeiture of the catch, equipment, gears and vessels; and cancellation of permit that makes it possible for the offender to commit the offense. The TPAMB shall also impose administrative fine ranging from Three hundred thousand pesos (P300,000.00) to One million pesos (P1,000,000.00); and confiscation and forfeiture of catch, equipment, gears and vessels.

Section 30. Obstruction to Law Enforcement Officer. – The boat owner, master, operator, officer or any person acting on his/her behalf, of any vessel who evades, obstructs or hinders any law enforcement officer in the TRNP to perform his/her duty, shall be administratively fined Fifty thousand pesos (P50,000.00). In addition, the registration, permit and/or license of the vessel including the license of the officers thereof shall be cancelled.

Section 31. Common Penal Provision. –

(a)In case the vessel used in violation is owned by a corporation or entity, the fine shall be twice the maximum amount imposed for the offense.

(b)In case the vessel used in violation of this Act is foreign owned, the fine shall be thrice the maximum amount imposed for the offense committed without prejudice to the provision of Section 27 hereof.

(c)The captain of the vessel shall suffer the maximum duration of the imprisonment for the offense committed.

The above provides for some of the penalties imposed under RA 10067. Still, the immediate Filipino reaction on the grounding of the US warship was on the extent of the civil liability of the US government in relation to the damage on the reefs’ corals, as it appeared insufficient. The problem lies with the news reports which seemingly pegged damage costs at twelve thousand Philippine Pesos (P12,000) or roughly three hundred US dollars ($300) per square meter of damaged coral. [18] This is aggravated by the recent pronouncement by Philippine Transportation Secretary Joseph E.A. Abaya that the amount is pegged at US$300 per square meter, and that such is not open for haggling.[19] This is especially sensitive as it appears that the US warship has destroyed almost 1,000 square meters of coral already [20], and remains to be salvaged from the reefs, as of writing. To be clear about it, Section 20 of RA 10067 provides:

Section 20. Damages to the Reef. – Damages to the reef shall subject the responsible person or entity to the payment of administrative fines set by the TPAMB based on current valuation standards and to the payment of the cost of restoration.

On the other hand, Chapter 4, Rule 21, of the Administrative Order No. 1, series of 2012, of the Tubbataha Protected Area Management Board, [21] provides:

Rule 21. Damage to the Reef. Damage to the reef shall subject the responsible person or entity to the payment of administrative fines set by the TPAMB based on the current valuation standards, which shall not be less than Twelve Thousand Pesos (PhP12,000.00) per square meter. The violators shall be also liable for the payment of the cost of restoration which shall not be less than 12,000.00 per square meter, or as may be determined by the TPAMB.

From the above, it is clear that the one who damages the reef is liable for administrative fines AND to the payment of the cost of restoration. The administrative fine is based on the TPAMB’s current valuation standard, which under AO1, s. 2012 is an amount not less than P12,000 per square meter. On the other hand, the cost of restoration, which is a separate amount from the administrative fine, is either an amount that is not less than P12,000 per square meter or an amount determined by the TPAMB. It is clear that the TPAMB can impose a higher claim for cost of restoration above P12,000 per square meter, based on a formula that would take in consideration empirical facts on actual restoration. The P12,000 per square meter minimum valuation is not a fixed maximum valuation for cost of restoration under Philippine law.

On this light, a public official should have not assumed what is supposedly under the law but should have looked into the applicable laws before he made such pronouncements as a Philippine government official. Delimiting American liability on the matter through such pronouncements opens an uncomfortable inquiry as to whom his allegiance actually lies. The prime duty of the government, in which he serves, is to serve and protect the Filipino people, not the American interest.

V. Demand for US accountability

Unlike in other countries, in which similar incidents may have occurred in the past, Filipinos here do not call for any physical retribution for such carelessness, else arrogance, by foreigners within our territorial sea. We do not subject American expatriates to abuse and threaten them with physical harm or unfair treatment. [22] We do not call for the ship captain, the navigator, nor the ship’s crew to hang. [23]

All that there is being demanded is the proper accountability of the United States government for the damage wrought by their personnel here, and to make its officers, who do not enjoy derivative sovereign immunities, accountable for their acts which infringed Philippine laws.

It may be claimed that the Philippines’ only recourse would be to set its claim under your Foreign Claims Act (10 U.S.C. § 2734-2736) [24]. This leaves the Philippine recourse under the jurisdiction of the offending State, which is not acceptable. Neither would it be palatable that the Philippines be cowered to negotiate this incident in exchange of US assurances on the Philippines’ security arrangements. [25] The actuations of the United States will always be looked into as the issues that would arise might become more delicate than the corals in which the USS Guardian rests on.


Endnotes

[1] “Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park.” UNESCO World Heritage Centre. http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/653

[2] Republic Act 10067. “Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park (TRNP) Act of 2009” LawPhil Project, Arellano Law Foundation. http://www.lawphil.net/statutes/repacts/ra2010/ra_10067_2010.html

[3] Laude, Jaime. “US Navy ship runs aground in Tubbataha.” Philippine Star. http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2013/01/18/898299/us-navy-ship-runs-aground-tubbataha

[4] “USS Guardian ignored warnings it was nearing reef – Tubbataha official.” GMA News Online. http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/291269/news/nation/uss-guardian-ignored-warnings-it-was-nearing-reef-tubbataha-official

[5] “Tubbataha Demands Justice for the Reefs.” Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park. http://tubbatahareef.org/news/622

[6] Ibid.

[7] Santamaria, Carlos. “US Navy apologizes for Tubbataha grounding.” Rappler. http://www.rappler.com/nation/20070-us-navy-apologizes-for-tubbataha-grounding

[8] “US apologizes over Tubbataha incident.” GMA News Online. http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/291618/news/nation/us-apologizes-over-tubbataha-incident; “U.S. Envoy Apologizes for Ship’s Grounding on Philippine Coral Reef” The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/26/world/asia/us-envoy-apologizes-for-ships-grounding-in-philippine-coral-reef.html?_r=0

[9] “PNoy: After apology, US needs to account for violation of laws” http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/292139/news/nation/pnoy-after-apology-us-needs-to-account-for-violation-of-laws

[10] Manalastas, Jester. “Obama apology over Tubbataha issue urged.” Journal Online. http://www.journal.com.ph/index.php/news/national/43654-obama-apology-over-tubbataha-issue-urged

[11] Aben, Elena L. “‘USS Guardian’ Navigator Misplaced Tubbataha by 8 Nautical Miles – US.” Manila Bulletin. http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/390382/uss-guardian-navigator-misplaced-tubbataha-8-nautical-miles-us

[12] “How did USS Guardian get into protected Tubbataha area? PNoy wants to know.” GMA News Online. http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/292102/news/nation/how-did-uss-guardian-get-into-protected-tubbataha-area-pnoy-wants-to-know

[13] Pharand, Donat and Legault, Leonard H. “International Straits of the World.” Martinus Nijhoff Publishers [1984], p. 104; citing Elihu Root, agent for the United States government in the North Atlantic Fisheries Arbitration of 1910. http://books.google.com.ph/books?id=bYMpwN0COjAC

[14] “Tubbataha officials protest U.S. behavior.” Rappler. http://www.rappler.com/nation/19990-tubbataha-officials-protest-us-behavior

[15] Article V (Criminal jurisdiction) of the VFA provides:

1. Subject to the provisions of this article:

(a) Philippine authorities shall have jurisdiction over United States personnel with respect to offenses committed within the Philippines and punishable under the law of the Philippines.

(b) United States military authorities shall have the right to exercise within the Philippines all criminal and disciplinary jurisdiction conferred on them by the military law of the United States over United States personnel in the Philippines.

2. (a) Philippine authorities exercise exclusive jurisdiction over United States personnel with respect to offenses, including offenses relating to the security of the Philippines, punishable under the laws of the Philippines, but not under the laws of the United States.

(b) United States authorities exercise exclusive jurisdiction over United States personnel with respect to offenses, including offenses relating to the security of the United States, punishable under the laws of the United States, but not under the laws of the Philippines.

(c) For the purposes of this paragraph and paragraph 3 of this article, an offense relating to security means:

(1) treason;

(2) sabotage, espionage or violation of any law relating to national defense.

3. In cases where the right to exercise jurisdiction is concurrent, the following rules shall apply:

(a) Philippine authorities shall have the primary right to exercise jurisdiction over all offenses committed by United States personnel, except in cases provided for in paragraphs 1 (b), 2 (b), and 3 (b) of this Article.

(b) United States military authorities shall have the primary right to exercise jurisdiction over United States personnel subject to the military law of the United States in relation to:

(1) offenses solely against the property or security of the United States or offenses solely against the property or person of United States personnel; and

(2) offenses arising out of any act or omission done in performance of official duty.

(c) The authorities of either government may request the authorities of the other government to waive their primary right to exercise jurisdiction in a particular case.

(d) Recognizing the responsibility of the United States military authorities to maintain good order and discipline among their forces, Philippine authorities will, upon request by the United States, waive their primary right to exercise jurisdiction except in cases of particular importance to the Philippines. If the Government of the Philippines determines that the case is of particular importance, it shall communicate such determination to the United States authorities within twenty (20) days after the Philippine authorities receive the United States request.

(e) When the United States military commander determines that an offense charged by authorities of the Philippines against United States personnel arises out of an act or omission done in the performance of official duty, the commander will issue a certificate setting forth such determination. This certificate will be transmitted to the appropriate authorities of the Philippines and will constitute sufficient proof of performance of official duty for the purposes of paragraph 3(b)(2) of this article. In those cases where the Government of the Philippines believes the circumstances of the case require a review of the duty certificate, United States military authorities and Philippine authorities shall consult immediately. Philippine authorities at the highest levels may also present any information bearing on its validity. United States military authorities shall take full account of the Philippine position. Where appropriate, United States military authorities will take disciplinary or other action against offenders in official duty cases, and notify the Government of the Philippines of the actions taken.

(f) If the government having the primary right does not exercise jurisdiction, it shall notify the authorities of the other government as soon as possible.

(g) The authorities of the Philippines and the United States shall notify each other of the disposition of all cases in which both the authorities of the Philippines and the United States have the right to exercise jurisdiction.

4. Within the scope of their legal competence, the authorities of the Philippines and the United States shall assist each other in the arrest of United States personnel in the Philippines and in handing them over to authorities who are to exercise jurisdiction in accordance with the provisions of this article.

5. United States military authorities shall promptly notify Philippine authorities of the arrest or detention of United States personnel who are subject to Philippine primary or exclusive jurisdiction. Philippine authorities shall promptly notify United States military authorities of the arrest or detention of any United States personnel.

6. The custody of any United States personnel over whom the Philippines is to exercise jurisdiction shall immediately reside with United States military authorities, if they so request, from the commission of the offense until completion of all judicial proceedings. United States military authorities shall, upon formal notification by the Philippine authorities and without delay, make such personnel available to those authorities in time for any investigative or judicial proceedings relating to the offense with which the person has been charged. In extraordinary cases, the Philippine Government shall present its position to the United States Government regarding custody, which the United States Government shall take into full account. In the event Philippine judicial proceedings are not completed within one year, the United States shall be relieved of any obligations under this paragraph. The one year period will not include the time necessary to appeal. Also, the one year period will not include any time during which scheduled trial procedures are delayed because United States authorities, after timely notification by Philippine authorities to arrange for the presence of the accused, fail to do so.

7. Within the scope of their legal authority, United States and Philippine authorities shall assist each other in the carrying out of all necessary investigations into offenses and shall cooperate in providing for the attendance of witnesses and in the collection and production of evidence, including seizure and, in proper cases, the delivery of objects connected with an offense.

8. When United States personnel have been tried in accordance with the provisions of this article and have been acquitted or have been convicted and are serving, or have served their sentence, or have had their sentence remitted or suspended, or have been pardoned, they may not be tried again for the same offense in the Philippines. Nothing in this paragraph, however, shall prevent United States military authorities from trying United States personnel for any violation of rules of discipline arising from the act or omission which constituted an offense for which they were tried by Philippine authorities.

9. When United States personnel are detained, taken into custody, or prosecuted by Philippine authorities, they shall be accorded all procedural safeguards established by the law of the Philippines. At the minimum, United States personnel shall be entitled:

(a) To a prompt and speedy trial;

(b) To be informed in advance of trial of the specific charge or charges made against them and to have reasonable time to prepare a defense;

(c) To be confronted with witnesses against them and to cross examine such witnesses;

(d) To present evidence in their defense and to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses;

(e) To have free and assisted legal representation of their own choice on the same basis as nationals of the Philippines;

(f) To have the services of a competent interpreter;

(g) To communicate promptly with and to be visited regularly by United States authorities, and to have such authorities present at all judicial proceedings. These proceedings shall be public unless the court, in accordance with Philippine law, excludes persons who have no role in the proceedings.

10. The confinement or detention by Philippine authorities of United States personnel shall be carried out in facilities agreed on by appropriate Philippine and United States authorities. United States personnel serving sentences in the Philippines shall have the right to visits and material assistance.

11. United States personnel shall be subject to trial only in Philippine courts of ordinary jurisdiction, and shall not be subject to the jurisdiction of Philippine military or religious courts.

[16] “Archipelagic Sea Lanes for the Philippines proposed” Philippine Defense Today. http://adroth.ph/archipelagic-sea-lanes-for-the-philippines-proposed/

[17] “Philippine Archipelagic Sea Lanes Act.” Senate of the Philippines. http://www.senate.gov.ph/lis/bill_res.aspx?congress=15&q=SBN-2738

[18] Fabunan, Sara Susanne. “US ship stuck in Tubbataha.” Manila Standard Today. http://manilastandardtoday.com/2013/01/18/us-ship-stuck-in-tubbataha/

[19] Burgonio, TJ. “No haggling over reef fine–Abaya.” Philippine Daily Inquirer. http://globalnation.inquirer.net/62865/no-haggling-over-reef-fine-abaya

[20] Mangosing, Frances. “USS Guardian caused 1,000 square meters damage to Tubbataha Reef — PCG.” Philippine Inquirer. http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/345709/uss-guardian-caused-1000-square-meters-damage-to-tubbataha-reef-pcg

[21] Administrative Order No. 1, series of 2012. Tubbataha Protected Area Management Board. http://tubbatahareef.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Administrative-Order-No.-1-Series-of-2012.pdf

[22] Tan, Lincoln and Wade, Amelia. “Rena crew quit NZ for their ‘safety’.” The New Zealand Herald. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10758929

[23] “Hang the Other Bugger.” IOL News. http://www.iol.co.za/news/world/hang-the-other-bugger-1.1160296

[24] “10 USC § 2734 – Property loss; personal injury or death: incident to noncombat activities of the armed forces; foreign countries” Cornell University Law School, Legal Information Institute. http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/10/2734

(a) (1) thereof provides: “(a) To promote and to maintain friendly relations through the prompt settlement of meritorious claims, the Secretary concerned, or an officer or employee designated by the Secretary, may appoint, under such regulations as the Secretary may prescribe, one or more claims commissions, each composed of one or more officers or employees or combination of officers or employees of the armed forces, to settle and pay in an amount not more than $100,000, a claim against the United States for— (1) damage to, or loss of, real property of any foreign country or of any political subdivision or inhabitant of a foreign country, including damage or loss incident to use and occupancy”

(b)(1) thereof provides: “(b) A claim may be allowed under subsection (a) only if— (1) it is presented within two years after it accrues”

(d) and (e) thereof provide: “(d) If the Secretary concerned considers that a claim in excess of $100,000 is meritorious, and the claim otherwise is payable under this section, the Secretary may pay the claimant $100,000 and report any meritorious amount in excess of $100,000 to the Secretary of the Treasury for payment under section 1304 of title 31”; and “(e) Except as provided in subsection (d), no claim may be paid under this section unless the amount tendered is accepted by the claimant in full satisfaction”; respectively.

[25] “Protecting the US, despite destruction.” The Daily Tribune. http://www.tribuneonline.org/index.php/commentary/editorial/item/9543-protecting-the-us-despite-destruction

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