US military bases are back, but don’t call them that

22

What his mother in 1991 couldn’t do despite her aura then as the saint of democracy—which was to continue having US military bases in the country—President Benigno Aquino 3rd appears to have achieved.

Advertisements

The Supreme Court ruled the other day that the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA)—which the Philippines under Aquino signed with the United States to let the superpower use camps and other places in the country to accommodate its troops, vessels, aircraft and war materiel—is not unconstitutional as it merely implements the Visiting Forces Agreement ratified by the Senate as a treaty in 1999.

Let’s cut the bullshit and call a spade a spade. EDCA’s gist is for the US to have “operational control” (paragraph 4, Article III) over “agreed locations” in the country in our military camps. What are “agreed locations”?

These are locations where US military forces may conduct the following activities (Paragraph 1, Article III): “transit, support, and related activities; refueling of aircraft; bunkering of vessels; temporary maintenance of vehicles, vessels and aircraft; temporary accommodation of personnel; communications; prepositioning of (military) equipment, supplies and materiel; deploying forces and materiel. (Emphasis mine)

In short, the EDCA’s “agreed locations” are “facilities for the storage of military equipment and the training of soldiers.” But that is a word-for-word dictionary (or even Wikipedia) definition of “military bases.”

They could cordon off a part of Clark Airbase, and get the government to agree that it is an “agreed location” under EDCA, and overnight, we would see an airbase for B-1 Stealth bombers and F-16 fighters there, in case hostilities break out with China, or with North Korea.

The EDCA could also designate as an “agreed location” a pier in Subic to host “temporarily” – for six months, even – a fleet of Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarines, to threaten China to stop building facilities on atolls in the South China Sea. In fact, two such submarines in the past two weeks arrived in Subic, perhaps checking out their new base aka “agreed location.” (A military spokesman said that one “agreed location” they would want is the Ulugan Bay in Palawan to face the Spratly area. He wishes.)

Under EDCA, it won’t be a military base, just an “agreed location.” US attack submarine docking at Subic

Under EDCA, it won’t be a military base, just an “agreed location.” US attack submarine docking at Subic

This points to the most scandalous implications of EDCA. If the US went to war against any country, we would automatically become its ally as the Americans would be using their “agreed locations” here as military bases from which to launch any strike against a hostile country. Of course, in the process we would also immediately become targets of America’s foes.

I would think it proper for us, if we were to be annihilated by some nuclear bomb, to at least have the integrity and dignity as a sovereign nation of declaring our own war with our chosen enemy.

Don’t call them military bases
The US, of course, is a genius in wordplay. For instance, it is “Pivot to Asia,” rather than “Asserting US hegemony in Asia.” The US has over 500 – yep, 500 – installations in Iraq, which are the most armed places on earth. Not a single one is called a military base. Instead, they are called “camps,” “forward operating bases,” “command outposts,” and “firebases.” The US’ and its allies’ huge military base around the Baghdad airport is “Victory Base Complex.” Here, the US installations will be called “Agreed Locations.”

The US’ idea of non-permanent bases is actually an integral part of its global strategy in the 21st-century era of high-tech military equipment. The strategy requires less of the permanent, expensive bases of the 1960s, such as the Clark or Subic Air Base vintage, but more of the “forward operating sites,” as Pentagon jargon calls these, which could be rapidly transformed into bases when needed.

Dubbed “lily pads” by the Pentagon, “such sites would allow rotational or periodic access for training purposes, while also providing readily expandable facilities with pre-positioned equipment,” states a study of the European Center for Security Studies. This was, the study pointed out, America’s “new, cost-effective (read: cheaper) basing paradigm” in the 21st century.

To project its military power in Eastern Europe after the collapse of the USSR, the US struck agreements with Bulgaria and Romania in 2006 and 2005, respectively, for the establishment of such forward operating sites. In fact, the EDCA is practically a cut-and-paste job from the Bulgarian and Romanian pacts (See www.manilatimes.net/ph-us-pact-bad-copy-of-bulgarian-romanian-treaties/94564).

For President Obama’s “pivot-to-Asia” policy, the US now has EDCA, which will make the Philippines its forward operating site in the region, obviously positioned against the only other military power in the region, China, just as Bulgaria and Romania were, in their case, against Russia.

It is a national shame that the Senate was refused the right to approve or reject the EDCA. In contrast, the heads of the states of Romania and Bulgaria had such deep respect for their Constitutions that they asked their legislatures to ratify their EDCAs.

It is a shame for the High Court to ignore the Senate’s resolution, signed by the majority, asking it and the President to have the EDCA ratified by the Senate.

It is, of course, clever of the Americans to call their new military installations under the EDCA merely as “agreed locations” since our Constitution’s Section 25, Article XVIII very clearly states:

“Foreign military bases, troops, or facilities shall not be allowed in the Philippines except under a treaty duly concurred in by the Senate.”

But in this country, who cares about the Constitution and the Supreme Court?

The Court had declared Aquino’s Disbursement Acceleration Plan, the hijacking of the budget, as unconstitutional and even called for those responsible for it to be charged. Has anybody been charged?

The Supreme Court ruled the pork-barrel scheme, called Priority Development Assistance Fund unconstitutional, and even issued an order stopping its implementation in 2013 while it was deciding the case. Aquino simply tweaked the documents and Congress authorized even bigger pork-barrel disbursements, with a new name, of course –”Bottom-Up Budgeting.”

The Supreme Court five years ago ruled that Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) had gone far beyond the foreign ownership limit of 40 percent, with its foreign equity component having reached 60 percent, and therefore, was violating the Constitution. But the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission – not the Commission itself – reversed the Court’s ruling through a sheer memorandum. Using that memo, PLDT ignored the High Court’s decision. So did Globe Telecom.

What’s become of our country?

tiglao.manilatimes@gmail.com

Share.
loading...
Loading...

Please follow our commenting guidelines.

22 Comments

  1. Jeremiah Arciaga on

    If the US went to war against any country, we would automatically become its ally??? We are already an ally to US, and bound with a treaty.. Our country is weak, let’s just face the truth. We need the United States’ arsenal to protect our country from other nation’s threat. If in the future we are attacked by China, the US will be here to defend us.. and so is the Philippines to US. We don’t get to choose an enemy because we’re weak in terms of firepower, the enemy would instead chose us, because we are easy to bully and to attack. That is why we need EDCA for our defense.

    • It is a sad Truth –It sad also sad truth –That once US bases are established here –If forces of any great numbers are here –They the Allies, became the bullies !
      Dr David M Meyer (Psych)

  2. Martin Oakleaf on

    Did you know that if a person becomes a Philippine citizen they must swear and oath that the “UNITED STATES IS THE SUPREME AUTHORITY” That in itself proves that true independence has never happened for the Philippines. the truth is you have no country and you have no freedom and you have no nationality. Wake up folks it is the same for US citizens we are without a voice in our nation. It is all Cake and Circuses here as well. The elections are a big Puppet show. Many promises and never any real action. Remember the real powers always take ” One step backward so they can take two steps forward”

  3. EDCA is nothing but a new treaty . The Senate was correct . If the U.S. gives more vessels and lethal weapons to Vietnam their presence is not going to change that because they did not even ratify UNCLOS. THe Mutual Defense Treaty prevents them from helping us if it will be a threat to peace and stabililty in the region. WHat they want is to ensure that they have a strong presence in the Pacific. What they want is to be sure they rule the Pacific even if their presence makes us a legitimate target of attack under the laws of war. THey should be kicked out by the next president since its only an executive agreement anyway according to the crazy Supreme Court..

  4. carlos l. nuguit on

    we were given independence and look how dreadfull
    this country had become!!!!
    compare our sorry state with that of the other US territories, i.e. hawaii, guam etc…

  5. i would rather consider having the americans here in our country rather than being bullied by these chinese who intension only is to grabbed what they can. It is the generation of president in the past that these things happen from cory aquino to present.it will never happen when from the start we already preventing china to come into our territory by strengthening our military forces to areas concern. All these country expressing support have all vested interest. we still have the richest natural resources and very strategic location. US will not allow anybody but them to intercede unless otherwise these so called democratic fighter have any suggestion.

  6. Whoever says that we need the US for assistance especially in these times of tsayna hegemony does not know what he/she is talking about. If those politicians or so-called leaders would have had foresight and the interests of the country at heart, they could have planned since 1986 for an independent defense posture. Wasn’t Mr. Marcos able to govern so long because he has the support of the US? If they want to be independent of the US, they could have planned buying naval and aerial assets from other countries aside from just being dependent on US-made hardware or manufactured them locally via reverse investments with these hardware suppliers. Unfortunately, most of the people have “elected” presidents with no backbone or balls who have just have their political career and their allies’ well-being at heart – as payback for financial support during their campaign.

  7. Annak Ti Amianan on

    We just volunteered to turn this country into a war zone – perhaps by the U.S. and China. Both countries will be happy to go against each other’s head outside of their territories.

  8. Absolutely, let’s cut the BS. The reason for EDCA and the positioning of US forces in the Philippines, is due to your politicians inept, crooked, felonious enterprises. Mr. Aquino cant spend one centavo unless the legislature approves it. China’s encroachment is due to your politicians inept, crooked, felonious enterprises. Seems to me this is your fault. Either modernize or capitulate. Your article screams capitulation. You want peace and freedom, but you wont pay the price.

    • Absolutely! Lets cut the bullshit!!!!

      Will you leave entirely and leave us alone to deal with the problem???
      I bet my -ss you wont!…

      You’d rather see the problem linger so you get to stay right? Right !!!

    • You’re right let’s cut the BS! Let’s kick the Chinese out of Spratley islands and start building bigger airstrip in islands we have control using US military forces as shield. If they do not cooperate then there is no use of EDCA.
      It’s true that China is a threat and shifting US military forces in Asia Pacific has been planned many years ago. This is to contain China full stop!
      The best way to defeat China is to humiliate her by ignoring its none dash line map. The best way PH can do is to educate its people and improve its economy in order to stand on its two feet.
      Mr. Tiglao..we have a strong constitution and members of the supreme court and let’s not mock them.

  9. “It may be necessary to kill half the Filipinos in order that the remaining half of the population may be advanced to a higher plane of life than their present barbarous state affords.”
    US General William Shafter

    With friends like that, who needs enemies!

    The US annals make it very clear what the US really thought about the Philippines, and their strategy for colonisation and domination with a two pronged approach – commercial trade and military bases.

    “The Bell Trade Act (1946) set the ball rolling and prohibited the Philippines from manufacturing or selling any products that might “come into substantial competition” with US made goods and required that the Philippine Constitution be revised to grant US citizens and corporations equal access to Philippine minerals, forests and other natural resources”

    The terms of the Bell Act were so onerous that even the U.S. State Department opposed them. One official described the law as “clearly inconsistent with the basic foreign economic policy of this country” and a betrayal of “our promise to grant the Philippines genuine
    independence.”
    US Congress threatened to withhold rehabilitation funds unless the Bell Act was passed. The Philippine Congress duly capitulated and passed the Bell Act on July 2, 1946. Ironically, it was Mar Roxas’ grandfather and his skullduggery which gave the Americans what they wanted by manipulating the passage of, and then signing, the Bell Act. (Different times, same LP treachery, and still acting as US lapdogs)

    Another US congressman said ” we will never actually give The Philippines Independence, simply make it appear that way”

    EDCA cements the stranglehold of the US on the Philippines. Another example of how not to negotiate.

    And with 40% of american male visitors to the Philippines being sex tourists, as stated by no less than US Ambassador to The Philippines, Thomas Harry, then one way or another the US treats The Philippines with no respect and just regards it as a cheap hooker. Aquino and Roxas (aka Tweedledum and tweedledee) have acted as pimps-in-chief, with no regard for the philippines, or compassion for the people, (“the common man”, as Mar Roxas likes to call his countrymen), who are just pieces of meat to be trafficked, exported, and exploited.

    Partnerships are about respect – slavery is about subservience and capitulation.

    Man is born free, but in the philippines has ‘property of US’ stamped on its citizens, with Philippine presidents acting as the obedient dog for its master’s voice.

    ‘A man is no less a slave because he is allowed to choose the same master every 6 years’

    • You’re statement quoting from Gen Shafter is taken in a wrong context, totally wrong and unethical. That’s just one person. Who on his right mind would think to kill half of the Filipinos in order that the remaining half of the population may be advanced to a higher plane of life than their present barbarous state affords.”. This statement was perhaps coined many years ago when there were only generals ruling and making statements and handful of Filipinos in the US. There are many US bases outside US and it’s not just in the PH. Do you ever think that their leaders are “obedient dog”? Everybody knows that US will remain the most powerful country in the world in the next 100 years.
      Only defeatist person think about “Philippine presidents acting as the obedient dog for its master’s voice”. Mr. Tiglao. you’re way out of line. You should know the number of Filipinos in the US military and government and even private companies where we were given opportunities and not in China who you do not criticize.

    • Frank A. Tucker on

      This is OLD history, why didn’t you provide a date for that preposterous quote by US General William Rufus Shafter (circa 1898).

      Times have changed and so have such preposterous attitudes. We ALL have learned a lot in the last 118 years, well most of US anyway, perhaps you have not if you are still holding such a heavy burden of grudge.

      Get over it, let’s be friends again.
      If The Philippines wants protection from China or any other entity, they must share the burden. THAT is only RIGHT !

    • Pimp-in-chief is right. Once again, America has used our top lap dog to make the once peaceful Asian countries into a bunch of bickering neighbors on the verge of war. All for what?? To sell more ammunitions and control the world vital resources. China has been extending diplomacy to her neighbors through building major infrastructures, improving transportation. It would not be to her interest to obstruct trade routes as Aquino and his advisers has been insinuating. China bullying us? It was because of Aquino’s poor handling of diplomacy that got us into this stage. Six more months of Aquino regime and we might really be going to war. Beware.

  10. Florencio Abad on

    There’s norhing wrong with that. All along we have the poorest military in all nation. malaysia once bullied us on which is ours . not anymore. Now china is bullying us and US is trying to help us.I guess you are Anti US.

    • The US thru VFA and MDT has been here for over HALF A CENTURY!

      They certainly were here when Scarborough was taken.

      They certainly were here from the time those sand-sucking barges started sailing from mainland China to the Spratlys until those islands were completed recently.

      They were already and all over in “agreed locations” in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao…..

      Did this “friend” of ours do anything to stop those from happening????

      NAH! NO! NONE! NEVER!

      When you have a contemptuous friend, you don’t need an enemy!

  11. whatever it is the return of the US forces in the country is good and necessary now with the threat from China besides our crooked government in the past and still some in the present continued to neglect the AFP that it cannot protect the country on its own. and what about the needed assistance during calamities? don’t we always need the US military? its no brainer. its survival and the phony nationalism of some leftists are just impractical. lets get our economy in stable first and our government in order before we cry nationalism.