US to use 5 bases in PH

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WASHINGTON: The Philippines agreed Friday (Saturday in Manila) to allow the United States to use five of its military bases, including an air base on an island facing the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) where Manila is involved in territorial disputes with China.

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The facilities were the Antonio Bautista Air Base in Palawan, Basa Air Base in Pampanga, Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija, Lumbia Air Base in Mindanao, and Mactan-Benito Ebuen Air Base in Cebu. The agreement was made during the 6th Bilateral Strategic Dialogue (BSD) held from March 17 to 18 in Washington D.C.

“Both sides expressed their firm opposition to the ongoing militarization of outposts in the South China Sea,” the two countries said in a joint statement released after talks between senior government officials.

The dialogue was co-chaired by Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Russel and Assistant Secretary of Defense David Shear for the US and Foreign Undersecretary Evan Garcia and Defense Undersecretary Pio Lorenzo Batino for the Philippines.

The statement did not name a specific country in the context of militarization but the meeting took place as the United States steps up its criticism of China for its buildup of military equipment such as missile launchers and radars in disputed areas in the sea.

Washington and Manila “discussed their common view that the installation of new military assets on the outposts escalates tensions,” the statement added.

The US and Philippine governments will hold detailed discussions on the US military’s use of the five bases in upcoming occasions such as a planned visit by US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter to the Philippines next month.

Washington and Manila also agreed to urge Beijing to follow the ruling of a UN arbitral tribunal in The Hague when it hands down a decision over the legality of China’s territorial claims in the sea, according to the statement.

The Philippines filed a memorial against China in 2014, questioning Beijing’s claim on almost the entire disputed sea based on its 9-dash line policy.

The joint statement also said that the Philippines and US affirmed their commitment to the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) that was articulated by the Enhance Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).

The officials added that the discussions reaffirmed both countries’ commitment to strengthen the alliance in terms of mutual defense and security, and to jointly contribute to regional peace, stability, and economic prosperity.

The two sides discussed proposals to enhance US efforts to help modernize the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), develop capacity and capability for maritime security and domain awareness, and provide rapid humanitarian assistance.

The Philippines also welcomed the intent of the US Department of Defense to propose to the US Congress that a significant amount under the Southeast Asia Maritime Security Initiative be allocated to the Philippines for mutually agreed projects that directly support the country’s maritime security priorities.

The two countries committed to continue developing, planning, and executing defense cooperation activities to reinforce their respective national defense capabilities and interoperability in the areas of maritime security and domain awareness, enhanced joint activities, humanitarian and disaster response, counterterrorism, cybersecurity, and information sharing.

The two countries reiterated their commitment to peace, security, and stability in the region, as well as to unimpeded lawful commerce and freedoms of navigation and overflight. They reinforced the importance of close cooperation and consultation among international organizations and bodies that support a rules-based international order providing a framework for peaceful resolution of disputes.

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8 Comments

  1. matinong pinoy on

    There are still many kababayans that cannot comprehend what they are reading, and if they do, they are just plain stupid and arrogant. From the beginning, what will be stored in those 5 bases under the EDCA Agreement are Logistical Support Equipment for the two countries (Phil & U.S.) to use when confrontations occur with enemy state and the other is equipment / materials use in responding to disasters, which is already part of our life, such as typhoons, floods, and etc. Can anybody see any indications that the U.S. is trying to colonize the country again? Duh…

    Regardless on how the Philippine Government modernize its Armed Forces, it still no match for China and as a testament to this, China have taken the whole China Sea and some of the Islets that was once belonged to the Philippines. Another truth is that, If the Philippine Senate have extended the U.S. Bases agreement for another 50 years in 1991, China would have not even imagined in doing what they are doing now.

    This is the price that we are paying now for having ignorant and arrogant politicians and citizens that hated Americans so much. The U.S. Embassy in the Philippines will always be there, standing tall, like it or not, protecting U.S. businesses, U.S. expatriates, U.S. retirees, U.S tourists, U.S. military retirees presently living in the Philippines. These are U.S. interests, and under the U.S. Constitution, the government has the moral and legal obligations to protect its citizen.

  2. That’s a wonderful idea…the country needs the support of super power like the USA…cuz it has difficulty modernizing it’s military ,due ineptness of it’s leaders, after it was given independence by the USA in 1946….until now it is still a poor country…..it’s sad, but it’s true…the rampant corrupt activities kf the leaders there hampered the growth of the country…it is still at the bottom in Asia ,economically……thank you USA……

    • Once was a victim raped by Portugal, Spain, Japan and USA, and now is volunteered with open legs….

      …. while Okinawa Mayor says: Out!

      A nation has no dignity, exporting maids for 12% its GDP, now pulling pants for Uncle Sam and Jap for quick bucks, shameless.

  3. This is dumb, dumber and dumbest theatrical opera. Submitting to US is tantamount to re-colonization. We detest the Chinese and yet we are welcoming the US? Is this stupidity? The safeguard our country is to rely on our own might. The government should practice self-reliance by modernizing the military, inculcate sense of nationalism to the citizens, train the youth by returning the ROTC, etc.

    • Japan and South Korea have modern military and nationalistic citizens yet they still welcome the help of the US. They must be stupid too like the Philippines.

  4. When Hague hands down its verdict in favor of the PH, the reefs and islands in Spratley within 200 miles of PH EEZ has to be developed by PH with the help of US forces. Chinese occupying the islands within PH EEZ shall be turned over to PH government without any liabilities to the Chinese government. The Map of the Philippines through NAMRIA shall ensure to include those islands within 200 miles of EEZ. This is a good deal for PH.

  5. The US has to expand and develop all these air bases to be used to cater to the needs of people in time of disasters and for future use by PH airforce.