Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin has announced that the government will allow the US Armed Forces greater access to Subic and Clark.
It is a defense strategy adopted to check China’s increasing aggressiveness, while the Philippines is in the process of building its defense capability.
Most Filipinos endorse the idea given the fact that the country is facing an invasion. And that’s no exaggeration.
The Chinese have already built permanent structures in the Spratlys. They have also cordoned off and are now driving our people away from Bajo de Masinloc, also known as Scarborough Shoal.
In the face of this blatant display of brute force what do our honorable legislators have to say?
Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile warns the establishment of new military facilities for the use of the US Armed Forces would raise Constitutional issues that, he hastens to add, must be brought to the Supreme Court for clarification and resolution.
It is easy to see where that statement is coming from. Mr. Enrile is one of the 12 senators who, on Sept. 16, 1991, rejected the renewal of the RP- US Military Bases Agreement.
Now the good senator tells us that the US Navy, under the Visiting Forces Agreement, can only refuel its ships in the country but cannot establish its own refueling station.
Good heavens! The fellow is so concerned with legal niceties while China is poised to swallow us whole.
Two senators, Vicente Sotto and Panfilo Lacson, don’t seem to mind the increased presence of the US Armed Forces, so long as the Executive department consults the Senate “as a matter of inter-departmental courtesy.”
At a time of great peril all these guys can think of is decorum and their prerogatives.
But that’s merely stupid. The stand of certain Party-list congressmen is downright dangerous. They want us to cut our ties with our allies and see us adrift on a turbulent sea unprotected and alone.
In a joint statement, Neri Colmenares and Carlo Zarate of Bayan Muna, state that the proposal, if allowed to proceed, “would turn Philippine bases and facilities into American outposts,” and that’s “. . .a shameful act of national betrayal. . . .”
Not only are these two playing a dangerous game, they are flirting with treason.
Then they stretched the theme to the breaking point.
The offer of military assistance from Japan and its acceptance by the Philippines, they intoned, is a sellout, similar to “the betrayal of the guerrillas to the Japanese during World War II. . .,” and “an insult to [Filipino] comfort women. . . .”
Another Party-list congressman, Fernando Hicap of Anakpawis, demands that the government divulge the details of the access agreement. So that China would know how to counter it?
There’s no beating around the bush for the Communist Party of the Philippines. It warns that increased US presence “will provoke China to be more aggressive in the defense of its territories. . . .”
Now the cat is out of the bag. The CPP recognizes Bajo de Masinloc, the Spratly Islands, and Panatag Shoal as Chinese territory.
The rejection of the bases treaty was born out of resentment.
Following the 1986 People Power revolution, Jovito Salonga, Teofisto Guingona, Rene Saguisag, Teofisto Guingona Jr., et all, now senators, voted to abrogate the bases treaty to demonstrate their displeasure. They believed that Ferdinand Marcos could not have stayed in power for so long without the US Government propping him up.
But how come Enrile and Joseph Estrada, who had supported the strongman, also voted to remove the bases? Well, they felt betrayed when President Ronald Reagan at last threw his support behind Cory Aquino.
On Sept. 16, 2011, the surviving members of the so-called Magnificent 12 met to celebrate the historic event. They were still proclaiming sovereignty as their reason for the decision.
It would be nice to know what the senators intend to do now that the Chinese are threatening our sovereignty and grabbing parts of our territory.
The senators announced one after another that they voted to send the Americans home out of patriotism.
The Americans dutifully left, giving up the U.S. Naval Base in Subic Bay and the U.S. Air Force Base in Clark.
Not the Chinese. They are not about to relinquish the territory they have seized from us. In fact, the indication is that they are out to grab more, unless we can work with our allies to stop them.