‘Camp sharing,’ not bases, for US troops

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American servicemen will not be allowed to build separate and distinct bases in the country but will “share” camps with the Philippine military, Malacañang said on Sunday.

“The proposed agreement will allow the sharing of defined areas within certain AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippines] facilities with elements of the US [United States] military on a rotational basis within parameters consistent with the Philippine Constitution and laws,” Palace Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said.

“They will not put up a military base,” he stressed.

Coloma echoed the statement of the Philippine panel led by Defense Undersecretary Pio Batino, who met with his US counterpart last week to hammer out the enhanced defense cooperation agreement.


“This fresh round has clearly shown the shared commitment of both parties to enhance cooperation in defense, security and related fields, including humanitarian assistance and disaster response. At the instance of the Philippine panel, the United States panel agreed to the inclusion of provisions on environment and safety, and opportunities for potential Philippine suppliers of goods, products and services,” Coloma said.

He said Batino was able to relay to US officials the government’s position emphasizing primacy of the Philippine Constitution, which bans the establishment of US bases in the country.

“Undersecretary Batino emphasized that, as in the preceding five rounds, the Philippine negotiating panel is guided by the principles of full respect for Philippine sovereignty, non-permanence of US troops, and no US basing in the Philippines, mutuality of benefits and respect for the Philippine Constitution, including the prohibition against nuclear weapons,” Coloma pointed out.

The quartering for US troops has yet to be discussed.

Coloma said the agreement will strengthen links between the two countries in terms of defense, security, humanitarian assistance and disaster response.

“The aspects of humanitarian assistance and disaster response are very important. We witnessed how the US government stood ready to help us in the aftermath of Super Typhoon Yolanda. They sent modern equipment and their participation in emergency response was huge,” the Palace official stressed.

No concurrence
Some senators allied with the administration on Sunday said they see no need for Senate concurrence on the enhanced defense cooperation agreement, but it would be better for Malacañang to brief the Senate first.

Sen. Sonny Angara, vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, said the Senate, as an independent branch of the government, would also want to know the agreement’s specific provisions governing US troop presence in the country.

Angara said he agrees with Senate President Franklin Drilon that a briefing from the Departments of Foreign Affairs and National Defense will enable lawmakers to determine if there is really no necessity for Senate concurrence.

Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma recently said the

Enhanced Defense Cooperation doesn’t need the approval of the Senate because it is just an offshoot of the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) and the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).

Angara made it clear that he is not against the agreement but he insisted that the Senate will not readily accept Malacañang’s stance that the pact needs no ratification from the Senate.

Sen. Antonio Trillanes 4th believes the pact is not a new treaty but a part of the VFA and MDT and as such does not require the Senate’s imprimatur.

“It is my understanding that there is no new concept being introduced in the new agreement,” Trillanes, chairman of the Senate Committee on National Defense and Security, told The Manila Times.

Those who question the legality of the agreement can always raise the matter with the Supreme Court.

Earlier, Sen. Miriam Santiago said the new agreement needs Senate concurrence because it is classified as a treaty, not an executive agreement.

She noted that the government cannot claim that the pact is an offshoot of an earlier agreement because allowing foreign troops and war equipment into the country is not “a minor case of details” but “a major subject in itself”.

Santiago, who heads the Senate foreign relations committee, said it would be better if Malacañang allows the Senate to review the contents of the agreement.

Like Santiago, Sen. Jose Victor “JV” Ejercito believes all treaties and agreement requires the Senate concurrence.

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6 Comments

  1. Imagine how much military hardware could have been purchased with the DAP funds Abnoy used to corrupt Congress. Imagine the improvement in lives and professionalism of our soldiers and their families, with the triple-increase in PDAF that Abnoy gace to politicians to be stolen, so they can live e lives of the rich and famous.

    Imagine if our soldiers didn’t have to collect brass and cans. Imagine if we can afford to rescure our own people in calamities without foreign assistance.

    Pueede lahat yan king hindi garapal na magnanakaw si Abnoy.

    • Just imagine? No solid action is being done by the Supreme Court about DAP and Pork Barrel scandals. ALL the thieves continue with their positions and enjoy good life from the loot. After several “useless and wasteful” senate hearings, the thieves in the senate and congress are still smiling. Nothing is being done by the congress and senate to clean their chambers of the thieves. As if, having thieves in one’s house is normal. Until something is done to hang the thieves in the government, we could only imagine how life for the Filipino would have been better if the money is not stolen by the politicians we voted to serve us.

  2. I am a retired USN. I was stationed in Subic Naval Base with the Facility Security Detachment (FSD), we were the law enforcement on base, enforcing both UCMJ & US Federal statute. I was there before and after Mount Pinatubo eruption, and we were the last US military to leave Subic Naval Base. The problem that I observed with the Philippine Military is that they are undisciplined and not very professional. They need plenty of training and the Philippine government need to increase their take home pay. The Philippine troops look like beggars compared to their US counterpart, they result to collecting our brass after we finished our quarterly shooting, and collecting our aluminum soda and beer cans to supplement their pay. The Philippine politicians talk big about cooperation and sovereignty but in reality they are doing a big disservice to the people and to their military by not providing them with adequate pay to take care of their family and themselves, they are not provided with the best equipment, and still expect them to do their duty and protect the country.

  3. It is common knowledge that the Philippine government can’t defend our country from foreign invasion given the neglect and sorry state of our AFP. Our forces of gallant men and women are so ridiculously ill-equipped to defend our territory from threats coming from the likes of China. Now we have to beg the US to protect us. We are a country, which after almost 68 years of independence, remain like a baby who refuses to grow up due to corruption and greed of our politicians. Instead of always running and hiding behind the coattails of Uncle Sam every time we encounter external aggression, why not just be a state of the US?

    The “run like hell by Filipinos” spoken by Manuel Quezon is now the curse that is plaguing our poor country. Our leaders are really good at running our government like hell. Our corrupt and incompetent officials are simply incapable of governing our country with equal justice for all and in a way that will benefit the majority of our people and not just a handful of rich and powerful families.

  4. wether we like it or not we need the presence of US forces in the country as shown in their assistance during the Yolanda aftermath and now the increasing threat from China. be smart/ intelligent folks. Until our economy is healthy and the AFP modernized then we can say we do not need US forces. But as of this time I think we need them badly. I hope our politicians will use their heads and not their pockets and act like idiots because tilme is of the essence.

  5. Hoorrayyyyy!
    We need the USA’s military assistance and cooperation but not to the point of allowing them to have bases in our country.
    Camp-sharing will even be better than US military units having their own bases. Filipinos in contact with their US counterparts will learn more from them and vice-versa.