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DND chief clarifies: PH not constructing air, naval bases in Subic

Will only be giving greater access to US, other countries


Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin on Thursday clarified a news report that said that the Philippine military was planning to build new air and naval bases in Subic Bay that can be utilized by American forces.

He instead said that the Philippines was looking to give the United States and Japan greater access to its military bases, as it seeks to counter what it perceives as a rising security threat from China.

The government is initially drafting a plan that would allow US forces to spend more time on Filipino bases, something that could also be offered to Japan’s military later, Gazmin said.

“If and when there is agreement on the access, then there will be equipment coming in from the (United) States,” Gazmin told a joint news conference in Manila after meeting with visiting Japan Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera.

“Now as far as Japan is concerned, we do welcome other countries — particularly Japan since Japan is a strategic partner — in accordance with our existing protocols.”

A wire report quoted senior officials from the Philippine Navy as saying that the plans of building air and naval bases at Subic Bay could be used by American forces “to counter China’s creeping presence in the disputed South China Sea.”

The report added that the Navy has yet to formally present its P10 billion-base development plan to President Benigno Aquino III.

Subic Bay was once a United States military base for nearly a century until 1992, when the Philippine Senate voted 12-11 to reject a new bases treaty with the US. A ratification of the Visiting Forces Agreement in 1999 paved the way for large-scale joint military exercises such as “Balikatan” and Carat (Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training), among others, between Philippine and US troops.

This also allowed increased presence of US vessels that visit the country as it rebalances its military presence in the Asia Pacific.

Meanwhile, militant group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan slammed the report on plans of building new US bases, saying that the US is only using the territorial disputes with China to justify its presence here.

“The dispute with China cannot be used as a basis for having de facto US bases in Subic or any part of the country. The US will not engage China in a head on military conflict right now. The US is only using the territorial dispute to justify its presence here. Make no mistake, the US is not about to choose us over China should the dispute intensify. US military presence here is in service of US imperialist interests and not our national interests. Those two are not identical,” said Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.

“The Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of National Defense, and the commander-in-chief Benigno Aquino III should now disclose to the public the truth about the revival of military bases in Subic. There have been persistent reports that plans are underway to once again allow the stationing of US ships and planes in the area, even if this runs counter to national sovereignty and violates the Constitution,” he added. With a report from Agence France-Presse

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Tags: Defense , DND , Global Nation , Japan , Military , Philippines , US , Voltaire Gazmin

  • opinyonlangpo

    For a country which neglected its national defense for too long, it has no choice but invite all who are willing to help. Why not invite India too. Somebody better silence Renato Reyes.

  • mabyrik

    Who cares about reyes? This SOB is the most painful sore in our neck and must be removed forever. The enemy is already in the doorstep and here he is, talking nonsense again as if he is the ambassador of Chine to the Philippines.

  • $44479964

    There is hope for many Filipino women to get a slice of American and Japanese cake.

    • kanoy


  • PurpleDaisy13

    re: “The government is initially drafting a plan that would allow US forces to spend more time on Filipino bases, something that could also be offered to Japan’s military later, Gazmin said.”

    Our US forces would prefer to spend more time on American bases that conform to American standards, not Filipino bases.

    • CommonSens6

      How sure are you? Were you even in the service?

    • Bjdc

      “Our US forces…”? Oww c’mon! You’re a chinese-paid pig pretending to be American. Fool yourself!

    • muddygoose

      Trying hard.

    • INQ_reader

      The 71 american military ships already used Manila ports just this year. What standards are you talking about?

      • PurpleDaisy13

        Manila “docking” ports are not Manila bases.

    • Nic Legaspi

      Tired old thing… :(

  • jorgii0550

    Expect Bayad Muna and other communist party list groups to create massive traffic jams on roads leading to Japanese and US embassy with their pathetic demonstrations in the coming days.

    I hope our government is also planning to have an economic and military pact with India, similar to the military and economic cooperation of India and Vietnam to have more allies against China.

  • muddygoose

    Sa Japan at Germany may US military, pero maunlad sila at di sila nagpapagago. Kung si Renato Reyes kaya ang masusunod, baka walang US military, pero palagay ko iba naman ang mangga-gago sa atin.

    • INQ_reader

      Bakit di umunlad ang Pinas noong may base militar pa ang mga kano?

      • muddygoose

        Read your sentence again–you might have just answered your own question. Pedeng may effect (positive or negative) ang US Bases sa pag-unlad, pero hindi lang ito ang kaisa-isang factor. Bakit di tayo umunlad? Incompetent and selfish leadership, walang vision, walang values at pagmamalasakit sa kapwa, obsessed sa pamilya at relihiyon, kulang sa inspirasyon at tiyaga,..

  • waraykaon

    Secretary, why not?

  • INQ_reader

    I’m not sure if the americans can help. When they had their bases here, China was still a weak country that was suffering from internal in-fighting within the Communicst party. Nevertheless, US was not able to win against allies of China such as North Vietnam and North Korea. america’s war record is suspect.

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