President Benigno Aquino 3rd on Tuesday expressed his support to a plan that would allow the United States and Japan to use Philippine military bases, saying it is “a natural circumstance” to achieve a “credible alliance.”
He said the proposed access agreement will not lead to the permanent presence of foreign troops since the country will not allow US or Japan to establish their own military facility here.
“If you want a credible alliance, then you will have to have mutual training and that will normally occur within our territory or the allies’ territory,” Aquino added.
He explained that the country’s “strategic partners” should be familiar with the terrain in case of a “disturbance.”
“There are only two strategic partners that we have, it is America and Japan,” Aquino said. “Kung hindi tayo makikipag-ugnayan sa kanila at mag-aayos ng mga sistema kung sakaling may gulo na is palagay ko maling paghahanda ‘yon. Walang paghahanda ‘yon [ If we don’t coordinate with them and fix our systems for a possible disturbance, I think that is wrong preparation. That is the absence of preparation].”
“So kailangan nila ng may knowledge na rin ‘nung ating terrain. Kailangan rin naman natin ‘yung inter-operability with them [They need to know our terrain. We need to practice inter-operability],” Aquino added.
The government is initially drafting a plan that would allow US or Japan forces to spend more time on Philippine bases.
Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin had said it is looking to give the US and Japan greater access to its military bases, as it seeks to counter what it perceives as a rising security threat from China.