Militant solons fear ‘unli’ access to PH bases

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Bayan Muna Representative Neri Colmenares. INQUIRER.net FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Militant lawmakers on Friday expressed fears of “unli” (unlimited) access of American and Japanese forces to military bases in the Philippines.

“What’s in a name? Access arrangements, military exercises or routine port calls—they all mean the same thing, translating into unhampered use of facilities and structures in Philippine territory for foreign military use. It means allowing unlimited foreign military basing in the Philippines,” Gabriela Rep. Luzviminda C. Ilagan said.

Ilagan was referring to a government plan to allow the United States, Japan and other allies access to Philippine military bases to discourage China from further encroaching on the country’s territories in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

Ilagan said the terms of the access agreements being lined up by the Department of National Defense are “so vague that these appear to expand the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).”

She said the defense department would create de facto military bases by allowing US and Japanese forces use of an  “unidentified and undetermined number of Philippine facilities for an undetermined period of time.”

Instead of providing more security, Ilagan said the increased military presence of the United States and the additional presence of Japan in Philippine territory would escalate tensions between the Philippines and China.

National betrayal

Bayan Muna Representatives Neri Colmenares and Carlo Zarate called the plan “a shameful act of national betrayal” to overturn the 1991 Senate vote to eject the US bases from the country.

“It’s just like being invaded again by the Japanese and the President has become a Makapili,” Colmenares said, using the term for Filipinos who betrayed guerrillas to the Japanese during World War II in the Philippines.

“It also violates Japan’s peace constitution, which prohibits militarism in Japan because of [the] atrocities [committed by Japanese forces] during World War II. Japan’s military presence in the Philippines is not only unwanted, it is also unwelcomed. This is an insult to our veterans and comfort women who suffered under the Japanese,” Colmenares said.

Zarate pointed that the increased US military presence in Mindanao worsened the security situation in the region.

“The people’s rights were disregarded, and the VFA was rendered inutile while the Philippine government covered up the reported human rights violations by US troops in Mindanao,” Zarate said.

ACT Teachers Rep.  Antonio Tinio said the expanded access deal with the US showed that Malacañang wanted US forces  to be stationed on our territory “indefinitely and in greater numbers.”

Encirclement of China

“Historically, the US has used the Philippines as a stepping stone for military intervention in China. US troops based in the Philippines were among the foreign troops that invaded China and occupied Beijing in 1900.

Most Filipinos are probably unaware of this, while the Chinese certainly have not forgotten,” Tinio said.

“Instead of forging an independent and self-reliant foreign policy in response to Chinese territorial incursions, the Aquino administration would let this country reprise its role as a neocolonial outpost, a staging area for the encirclement of China by the US,” he said.

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  • $31552910

    China did not have much naval capability to pose a threat in the South China Sea at the time that the US military bases were still in the Philippines. In September 1991, the Philippine Senate rejected foreign military bases in the Philippines. In 1996, two U.S. aircraft carrier battle groups under the U.S. Seventh Fleet were sent to the Taiwan Strait to deter China from threatening Taiwan. China learned a lesson about the importance of sea power. In 1997, after the Asian Financial Crisis, China’s economy continued to rise while Japan’s economy plummeted. In 1998, China purchased a stripped-down aircraft carrier of the former Soviet Union. In 2001, China joined the World Trade Organization (WTO). It was after about 2005 that China began to surpass the United Kingdom, Germany, and Japan in GDP. The rapid economic growth of China enabled it to build up its naval capability and to project its naval power in the South China Sea. In September 2012, China commissioned the former Soviet aircraft carrier. The US “pivot” or “rebalance” in the Asia Pacific region is part of the sea power competition between the US and China.

  • joboni96

    kung mahina tayo
    gagamitin ng imperyalista ang intsik switik seagrab

    para makakuha ng mga concessions mula sa atin
    the imperialist will use all the tricks

    1. bwisiting saw pero bases na higit 10 taon na
    2. outsourcing sa mga commercial providers para sa military operatins
    3. pagtatago sa mga pilipino bases
    4. continuous presence dahil training daw nila sundalo natin
    5. ‘operational interoperability’ para makontrol military natin

    ang imperyalista ay eksperto sa magic
    gumagamit ng mga maamong salita para itago kalokohan nila

    magingat ka malacanang
    naka monitor si snuwden sa inyo

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