In The Know: US military presence in PH


American soldiers numbering between 500 and 600 are based indefinitely in the Philippines.

They belong to the Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines (JSOTF-P), which works alongside the Armed Forces of the Philippines in a strictly noncombatant role.

The US troops, stationed in Mindanao, advise and share information and conduct joint civil-military operations with the AFP, said Edilberto Adan, executive director of the Presidential Commission on the Visiting Forces Agreement.

Some of them are in Manila performing support roles such as procurement, Adan said.

In 1992, the Philippine Senate voted to end US military presence in the country.

But according to J. Eduardo Malaya, the then spokesperson of the Department of Foreign Affairs, the 1999 Visiting Forces Agreement allowed the continued presence of the JSOTF-P although the US forces are not allowed to engage in combat operations.

Under review

Malaya added that the presence of US troops was authorized by the Philippine government under the Mutual Defense Board of the two countries.

The Aquino administration has been reviewing the Visiting Forces Agreement, a move made in response to Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago’s call for its abrogation.

Much of the local objection to the agreement centers on the constitutional provision prohibiting the presence of foreign military bases, troops and facilities in the Philippines, “except under a treaty” ratified by the Senate and the people in a referendum and “recognized as a treaty by the other contracting state.”

The Supreme Court ruled on Feb. 11, 2009, that the Visiting Forces Agreement had been duly concurred in by the Senate and recognized as a treaty by Washington. The high court also noted that it was “simply an implementing agreement to the main RP-US Mutual Defense Treaty of 1951.”

In March 2010, the high court again upheld the legality of the agreement, which Washington regards as an executive agreement that does not require approval by the US Senate. Ana Roa, Inquirer Research

Source: Inquirer Archives

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  • joboni96

    high court also noted that it was “simply an implementing agreement to the main RP-US Mutual Defense Treaty of 1951.”

    a treaty that was entered into
    by beholden pilipino leaders and

    under a different constitution

    our present constitution says

    article xviii sec 25 of the 1987 ph constitutionSection 25. After the expiration in 1991 of the Agreement between the Republic of the Philippines and the United States of America concerning military bases, foreign military bases, troops, or facilities shall not be allowed in the Philippines except under 1. a treaty duly concurred in by the Senate and, when the Congress so requires, ratified by a majority of the votes cast by the people in a national referendum held for that purpose, and 2. recognized as a treaty by the other contracting State.vfa = visiting forcesnot bfa or basing forces

    full court press
    ang mga alipures ng u.s.
    sa media

    • Anonymous

      Have you been DENIED a US Visa lately?

  • choy

    This is a clear Bullshit News…that claim of 600 Troops are stationed indefinitely are a clear proof that this writer is BOPOLS…

    May pa “In the Know” pa kayong nalalaman ha…Soldiers deployments are based on rotations, kahit saan yan, ma pa amerikano man o pinoy…ni rorotate ang mga sundalo para makapag pahinga at maka balik sa kanila pamilya and at the same time re training yan. 

    We do the same thing here for our “Operators”, umiikot yan…dahil walang katapusan ang training ng mga Operators…MAG RESEARCH KAYO NG MAIGI AT HINDI KAMI MGA BOBO NA NAG BABASA DITO!!!! 

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    • joboni96

      cho nag rorotate ung individual soldiers
      pero permanently present ang pwersa ng u.s.
      dahil may pumapalit

      in effect, not visiting but
      permanently based force

  • Anonymous

    In order to put to rest these back and forth arguments whether a US Bases in the Philippines is possible or not, let the Filipino people speak thru a REFERENDUM. Marxists leftists and their politician cohorts DOESN’T speak for the Filipino people!

  • Anonymous

    No need for US mil presence. PH has earmarked $1.5B budget for military equipment. While we protect the region, more jobs could be generated in both US and PH.

    US should sell to PH the finished but abandoned $1.2B F-20A Tigershark program and technology of Northrop for half the price or less. It will give us the capability to refurbish and upgrade our decommissioned F-5s into F-5E/F. It will also allow us to build enough new Tigersharks for self-defense. US could manufacture and sell the critical parts to PH.

    PH MUST NOT BUY FIGHTERS like several expensive F-16 or -18. Without the ability to upgrade or build them, they’l just be obsolete sooner or later or crash and we’ll eventually end up with nothing again.

    PH should also acquire NH90 or Super Lynx multi-role helicopters for anti-ship/submarine, search and rescue, air to ground support, and troop transport. These can be carried by Coast Guard cutters or based on land.

    Buy second hand but young C-130s and more second-hand coast guard cutters with helipads and on board medical facilities.

    and brand new bullet-proof vests, personal radio communication, and night vision equipment for each soldier of our special forces. 

  • Anonymous

    US troops joined combat in Mindanao, says Navy whistleblower 

    GMANews.TV – Thursday, August 27 

    American troops stationed in the southern Philippines had been active in combat operations with the Philippine military, the former Navy officer who exposed irregularities in the use of funds for the yearly joint RP-US military exercises said on Wednesday. Lt. Senior Grade Nancy Gadian, whistleblower on an alleged fund mess in the RP-US Balikatan exercises in 2007, said in a press conference that US soldiers have joined Philippine troops in actual combat against Muslim rebels. “During encounters in the actual terrain, embedded po yung sundalong Amerikano (the American soldiers were embedded in local units),” she said. Gadian, who was head of Civil Military Operations Task Group of Balikatan in 2007, also said that about 500 US soldiers were assigned in Mindanao as “the first line of defense against the enemy.” She added that US troops usually engaged in operations in Mindanao without informing heads of the Philippine military in the area.
     “Madalas po nagkakaroon ng programs or projects ‘yung mga Amerikano doon sa Mindanao nang hindi nila pinapaalam doon sa pamunuan ng Southern Command. Dumidiretso po sila sa area kung saan nila gusto (Americans in Mindanao usually have programs or projects which they do not tell the leadership of the Southern Command. They just go to areas where they want to go),” she said.

    Gadian earlier this year exposed the alleged misuse of the P42-million fund allotted for the joint military exercises between the Philippines and the US by high ranking military officials. Permanent structures In her affidavit, Gadian also accused the US military of building permanent structures in different military camps in the country. She said US forces have established “permanent” and “continuous” presence in Zamboanga, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi in the south.

    She added that the Philippine military has no access to the camps built by the US soldiers in these areas since they are “fenced off by barbed wires and guarded by US Marines.”

    Gadian likewise said these structures are indications the US troops had no intention of leaving the country, which is a violation of the Philippine Constitution.

    Article XVII, Section 25 of the 1987 Constitution that prohibits the presence of foreign military bases, troops or facilities in the country except “under a treaty duly concurred in by the Senate.”

    ‘High-handed, imperious conduct’

    The ex-Navy official also complained of the “arrogant” behavior of many US military officers toward Filipinos.

    “They are not calling us by our names. Masakit pong isipin ‘yun kasi hindi naman po ako aso para tawagin basta-basta through their mere fingers (The thought of them calling us like dogs through their mere fingers is really painful),” she said in the press conference.

    Gadian also observed some US military men bringing Filipino women prostitutes to different areas in the camp.

    “On the whole, their assertions of power and authority appear like they rule over us and the country,” she said in her affidavit. – GMANews.TV

    • Anonymous

      Nancy Gadian is a previous member of the Phil Navy.., who have some issues to settle against her superior..,If she has solid evidence or proof…, she should prove that in a proper forum…,she should be brave enough to stand for the truth…,Instead of attacking the organization, once she belong…,

      • Anonymous

        If you do a search in the PH Senate site for Nancy Gadian, your answers are there.  Basically the Americans were arrogant enough to say the VFA allows it, screw your Constitution, we will do as we please!

        Sen. Miriam Santiago on the VFA:  “The better procedure there is to ask for renegotiation but we already did that and they refused. So we can go through that procedure but we know that they will never renegotiate it because they got exactly what they wanted. They wanted an open-ended agreement; meaning to say, that it does not say when it will end except that it cannot be cancelled by either party if it gives notice within six months time. And except that, it says, the Americans can engage in activities. There are two kinds of activities that are allowed: activities authorized by the Philippine government and activities that are under the contemplation of the VFA. I don’t know what those words mean.”
        So there you have it…we are held hostage again by the Americans.  Rumor is they are talking to the MILF directly and want to make a deal with them so they build a permanent base if they can get autonomy or independence, which insults our sovereignty.  

        Gadia did her part.  It’s up to the Senate to cancel the VFA but P-Noy seems bent on begging for more weapons and support from the Americans instead.

  • Anonymous

    We cannot trust the Americans…
    in 1953 with the President’s approval, the CIA Operation Ajax overthrew the democratically-elected Prime Minister of Iran and replaced him with the hated dictator Shah of Iran because he was the puppet of the US/UK oil companies.  As a result, Iran became radicalized and overthrew the Shah in 1979 and America has been trying to get back at it ever since.

    in 1954 after the Americans failed in supporting the defeated French colonial army in Vietnam, the CIA’s Edward Landsdale embarked on a terrorist campaign in North Vietnam, recruiting 40,000 Hmong tribesmen to overthrow the govt, assassinating public officials, blowing up bridges and spreading false news that Catholics were being executed.  As a result, a huge exodus of North Vietnamese fled to the South.  This radicalized the North Vietnamese govt to bring total war to achieve unity and independence for all of Vietnam.  If the US was willing to attack them in the 1950’s, the Vietnamese had to be ready to go all-out, including killing anyone who sided with the foreign invaders.

    In 1972, Pres. Marcos declared martial law claiming it was a communist attack on Plaza Miranda, the same “terror propaganda” line that the Americans used in justifying their invasion of Vietnam (the domino theory).  The US supported him full well knowing that communism in China, Korea and Vietnam were merely nationalist movement to gain independence and freedom from foreign oppression.  It would not work in the PH because we were already independent, albeit tied the US for arms and trade.

    In the 1980’s CIA poured billions of cash and modern weapons to Pakistan’s ISI to train radical muslim extremists, including a group headed by Abdul Rasul Sayyaf.  Some of his soldiers later went back to Mindanao to form the Abu Sayyaf.  Other groups became muslim sepratists/terrorists in Chechniya, Al Qaeda, Haqqani network and Taliban.  9/11 was “blowback” meaning an intelligence failure for the US supporting radical moslems who were anti-Western.

    Today, the US wants its base in the PH to consolidate its empire in South East Asia, having started it with the conquest of the PH in 1902 where at least 200,000 Pinoys died from the PH-US War.

    US does this to control resources and exert political influence on govt’s that will reserve these vital strategic resources to maintain America as the only superpower in the world today.  The rest of us be damned.

    • Anonymous

      what an ignorant mind,  go to Japan, Taiwan and S Korea, to stop your ignorance, he, he, he! ask many OFWs if they desire to live overseas rather than coming home if their families are with them, these are very honest desires;  they have gained knowledge overseas and their ignorance had vanished, he, he, he! you are damned because of ignorance, ok?

      • Anonymous

        hahaha even Americans are “ignorant” of what their government does overseas.  Travelling abroad doesn’t make one less ignorant.  I was educated and lived in the US for 10 years, returned home in 1986, but only after 9/11 happened and I did some research because I was so curious “why would anyone hate the US enough to bring down the Twin Towers?  What was the motive?”  Then I discovered a lot of the stinking garbage in US history, a history that goes back to the time when they lied to Gen. Aguinaldo that they would respect our cause for independence if we helped them defeat the Spanish in Manila.  

        History repeats itself and if you study enough about the history of a person, a govt and a nation you will know that person a lot better.  Many of us do not even know our own history, much less a foreign country’s.Like you, do you know that America, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore and a lot of other countries were created because of immigration?  To say Filipino’s prefer to live abroad is really ignorant because you also have foreign families here that consider the PH as their own.  So what?  The BI said that thousands of Filipino foreigners are returning back seeking citizenship status.  So what?  Immigration is part of globalization and it has been happening for hundreds of years.

  • Ben

    Only those Filipinos who trusting too much is called gullible…in any business or political undertakings, one must be cautious, but take risks…for risk taking is a part of life. Even a child has to stand up to learn to walk risking himself from getting hurt, but he continue to do it until he can walk…that is risk taking. Not taking risk is what makes you immature and stunted in growth not to mention economically well off in life…Why do you think Japan, South Korea and even China is prosperous? Because they took risks to develop themselves and push to the limits their potential, even if their ideology is different from the US they awashed themselves of the US money by flooding the US of their exports and now they are stronger and some of them continue to keep the US bases for they believe in themselves and know the risks. People has to go abroad to take some risks…even going to Afghanistan knowing that they can be hostaged or get killed in their war in there or be raped in other Arab states…but a lot are taking risks…now what is so different in taking risks for development and security to talk to a well known friend when this friend gave us our freedom and intelligence,but the filipinos just wasted it with corruption..unlike the Japanese who was administered by the US and crafted their own constitution?

    • Anonymous

      yeah, its not the military bases that made the country a “pauper”, its the leaders who are running the country that are very corrupt influenced by the dictator marcos’ ways which none o f his family members was sent to jail, in other countries they  had been  sent to a firing squad for lesson to learn with those who will commit the same corruptions, BUT IT DID NOT HAPPEN THAT WAY, SO MORE CORRUPT OFFICIALS WORSE THAN DICTATOR MARCOS ARE NOW BUSY “ROBBING” THE TREASURY, TSK, TSK, TSK!
      S KOREA, JAPAN, TAIWAN HAVE US FORCES & BASES IN THEIR LANDS, AND THEY PROSPERED ECONOMICALLY, THE PH. HAS NONE, SO IT WENT DOWN THE BOTTOM OF THE DRAIN, TSK, TSK, TSK!   arrogance does not pay anything especially for a 3rd world country like the Ph., it helps bring down a country to a “pauper’ state morally and economically, ha?

    • Anonymous

      You can’t compare Japan with the PH…Japan was a strong state already more than 1200 years ago with a history thousands of years old.  US is only 230 years old.  UK is only 800 years old from Magna Carta so Japan is more mature as a state. She was never subjugated until 1946 but good for them, the US chose to retain Emperor Hirohito instead of execute him like the other war criminals even though he participated willingly in the Japanese Imperial Army.

      By comparison, the PH was not a country per se until after 1946 but even then, our identity and culture was practically erased by 350 years of foreign occupation.  We are one of those new independent states that formed after WW2 but unlike the other states, we have still held on, willingly or not, to our American colonial masters until 1987 when some of us realized that Uncle Sam is really a pedophile (joke!  I mean they do not have our interests at heart).  

      Ever since, Filipino’s do not realize, the US merely needs the PH as an “outpost in SE Asia” (you can see this in old American newsreels on Youtube), along the perimeter she considers to be her domination of the Pacific.  What Filipino history students knows is Tydings-McDuffie Act 1934 (the PH Independence bill) but do they know that before that bill passed, the US tried to pass a similar bill, Hare-Hawes-Cutting Act which allowed indefinite retention of US military bases?  If not for our nationalistic forefathers, that bill would have been law and who knows what we would have done to boot out the Americans?

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