SF CHRP (San Francisco Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines) is a San Francisco based human rights advocacy group. Latest news and views on human rights in the Philippines.
The national democratic alliance, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, on Friday deplored the development of a planned joint U.S. and Philippine military base in Subic Bay. Based off of the 1987 constitution it is illegal for any foreign military power to establish itself on Philippine soil and the presence of American troops brings back traumatizing memories of previous U.S. troop presence in the past.
Before U.S. military basses were outlawed in 1991, against the wishes of then president Cory Aquino, U.S. troops and U.S. basses contributed to a wide array of human rights, and environmental, abuses. Including the violation of Philippine sovereignty. U.S. troops contributed to the underground economy and especially to the degradation of Filipino women through large prostitution rings, night clubs, with many U.S. troops participating in violence against women including rape.
Decrying the planned return of permanent U.S. military bases on Philippine soil Nato Reyes, secreary-general of Bayan, said:
“The construction of a new military facility in Subic shows in unmistakable terms the return of US bases in the Philippines. This is an affront to our sovereignty, a reversal of the Senate, rejection of the US bases in 1991, all courtesy of the subservient PH President Benigno Aquino III. Aquino is trying to outdo his predecessor Gloria Arroyo in being the number one US puppet in Asia.”
Bayan believes that the PH and US governments are working overtime to find ways to circumvent the constitutional ban on foreign military bases sans a treaty. It 1991, the Philippine Senate rejected a new basing treaty with the US, thus paving the way for the removal of the US bases in Clark and Subic. Since then, the US has sought to reestablish its presence in the Philippines.
An ABS-CBN article, written by Jason Gutierrez, says that part of the reason for the planned base is because the U.S. wants to focus its military might, in conjunction with its economic power, on the Asia-Pacific region:
“Based on US official pronouncements, there is a strategic rebalancing (of its forces) and that means more assets, more aircraft in the Western Pacific,” said Edilberto Adan, a former general who heads the government’s Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) commission.
“There are very few ports that can accommodate naval assets and naval carriers, and one of them is Subic.
“As the US begins to implement (the shift), Subic will play an important role because it is one of the important facilities that can service their presence in the Pacific.”
He said Subic could “provide the necessary port calls, port visits and servicing required by US assets, naval or aircraft”.
In its press release Bayan countered claims from some Philippine government officials that the planned base was not just for U.S. imperial ambition but mostly to “modernize” the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP):
Bayan also slammed the DND for invoking AFP modernization as the reason for constructing a new military facility in Subic.
“That’s another patent lie. The AFP did not modernize even when there were US bases in Clark and Subic some 50 years ago. Why would the AFP modernize now with this new facility in Subic? The AFP will never modernize if it’s only getting second hand hardware from the US,” Reyes asked.