AFP to move air force, navy to Subic

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Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin

MANILA, Philippines  – The Philippines plans to relocate major air force and navy camps to a former US naval base north of Manila to gain faster access to waters being contested by China in the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea), according to the country’s defense chief and a confidential government report.

Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said Sunday that as soon as relocation funds are available the government plans to transfer air force and naval forces and their fleets of aircraft and warships to Subic Bay, which has become a busy free port since the 1992 departure of the US Navy.

“It’s for the protection of our West Philippine Sea,” Gazmin told The Associated Press by telephone, using the name adopted by the Philippine government for the disputed South China Sea.

“We’re looking now for the funding,” Gazmin said from South Korea, where he was on a visit.

Subic Bay is a natural deep harbor that can accommodate two large warships acquired recently by the Philippines from the United States, a defense treaty ally, he said, especially compared to shallower waters at the naval fleet base at Sangley Point in Cavite province, south of Manila.

A confidential defense department document obtained by the AP says Subic’s location will cut reaction time by fighter aircraft to contested South China Sea areas by more than 3 minutes compared with flying from Clark airfield, also north of Manila, where some air force planes are based.

“It will provide the armed forces of the Philippines strategic location, direct and shorter access to support West Philippine Sea theater of operations,” the document said.

The report said the cost of repairs and improvements for an air force base in Subic would be at least 5.1 billion pesos (about $119 million). It said that compares with an estimated 11 billion pesos ($256 million) that it would cost to build a new air force base, because the vast Subic complex about 80 kilometers (50 miles) west of Manila already has a world-class runway and aviation facilities.

Relocating about 250 air force officers and men to Subic, along with “increased rotational presence of foreign visiting forces” would bolster business and trade at the port, the military document said.

The Philippines plans to grant visiting US forces, ships and aircraft temporary access to more of its military camps to allow for a larger number of joint military exercises than are currently staged each year.

A larger US presence could be used for disaster response and serve as a deterrent to what Philippine officials say have been recent aggressive intrusions by China into its territorials waters.

The Philippines has backed Washington’s efforts to reassert its military presence in Asia as a counterweight to China’s rise. While it has taken diplomatic steps to deal with China’s sweeping territorial claims in the South China Sea, the Philippines has struggled to upgrade its military, one of Asia’s weakest.

Philippine vessels backed off from the disputed Scarborough Shoal last year after weeks of a tense standoff with Chinese surveillance ship, a move that gave China effective control over the vast fishing ground off the country’s northwest.

Many fear the territorial conflicts in the South China Sea that also involve Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and Taiwan, could set off a serious conflict that could threaten Asia’s growing economies.

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  • AlexanderAmproz

    What for a backward country, always the wrong decisions are taken thanks a disastrous colonial education protecting with insanity the happy few corrupted to the bones.
    Even the Philippines is a monsoon country, there is a lack of fresh water, watersheds and Rivers affected with the worst pollutions are.

    The Country used to have a top class extraordinary environment, on the way to be totally destroyed, crooks speaking about Eco-tourism while dynamiting dive spot under official protections, killing time to time lured tourists, Lapu-Lapu and Mactan are killers specialists.

    How is it possible to be such stupid without to notice the enormous Education gap,
    resulting in Gang’s unlimited thirst for money destroying absolutely everything, peoples included, till nothing will left.

    It isn’t Paradise but the Gates of Hell, the wrath of “God” on the way will be terrible

    NB: the Philippines worst enemy is themselves.

  • AlexanderAmproz

    Why not to give away the Spartly’s to the US while keeping the under ground and sea for the Filipino’s, while investing resources in Education instead useless obsolete weapons, traditionally used to kill Pinoy’s.

    The AFP/PNP didn’t have the reputation to be better than the Lawmakers, trapos, high Official’s and al, to say they are the worst of all could be true.

    The US and China are only interested by strategic locations and natural resources.

    The AFP only good to terrorized unarmed civilian’s and poor farmers are, any other enemies will laugh at theses corrupt undisciplined scourges, they can also be easily bought for cheap money.

    • socali

      At this point I would rather share the resources with the US than China. Thats the point. This whole issue could have been put under the shelf and both China and PH could have jointly developed the area if it weren’t for China’s actions.

      • AlexanderAmproz

        Open your eyes, Tsinoy’s preeminence is more worrisome for Filipinos than China, in case the US will control the game, their trusties who will pump or get the “passalubong’s” are Tsinoy’s, Filipinos the end losers as usual with this neocolonial system run and owned by corruptions since Magellan.
        None Leaders ever mind the Country or will be rubout at once alike Rizal or Bonifacio, more recently Leonardo Co the excellent world known tree’s specialists doing sampling in Leyte forests targeted by JPE the country worst monster.
        Still suspicious of Jesse Robredo disappearance

  • oldsong23

    I will tell you…this will not going to happen…this is how the govt is good at…publicity and media mileage…but no action….Gawin na lang kung gagawin wag nang ibroadcast pa…tapos di rin pala matutuloy ,,,

  • Saigon Kick

    We are trying to bring up at least a credible defense to build back our so forgotten and left out defense capabilities. Nothing wrong with that.. except for some malicious minds who thinks its just macho stuff. The Philippines does not claim these territories just because we want to look tough.. but because they are vital and strategic to the security of the nation!

    These tiny shoals and islets are gateways to our main islands. If they are left alone then we would have done nothing. But when military outposts and naval stations are being built there by other states specially hostile ones like China, then defense building is vital however desperate it may look.

  • Art Villasanta

    At a Washington, DC breakfast on July 29, U.S. Air Force Gen. Herb Carlisle, the USAF’s top commander in the Pacific, basically stated that the U.S. plans to encircle China with its most capable aircraft over the next few years.

    Carlisle also said that the first USAF F-35s will be deployed to the Pacific. These multi-mission stealth aircraft are likely to be stationed at bases in Misawa, Japan; Kadena, Japan; Osan Air Base, Korea and Kunsan Air Base, Korea.

    Singapore will also purchase the F-35s, also known as the Lightning II, which are capable of performing ground attack, reconnaissance and air superiority missions. Carlisle said the USAF will send “fighters, tankers, and at some point in the future, maybe bombers on a rotational basis” to a base in Darwin, Australia.

    He also revealed that the USAF will also be “sending jets to Changi East air base in Singapore, Korat air base in Thailand, a site in India, and possibly bases at Cubi Point and Puerto Princesa in the Philippines and airfields in Indonesia and Malaysia.”

    This means the USAF will send large numbers of F-22 Raptors, F-35 Joint Strike Fighters and B-2 stealth bombers to Asia.

    Cubi Point in Zambales was the site of the former U.S. Naval Air Station Cubi Point that served as the primary maintenance, repair and supply center for the 400 carrier-based aircraft of the Seventh Fleet’s carrier force during the Vietnam War.

    • AlexanderAmproz

      This is showing,

      With or without the AFP wouldn’t change anything, it’s a giant’s game with giant’s interests, the PAF don’t need any obsolete jet fighters to look ridiculous beside the F35s.
      Multi purposes fast crafts, cargo planes and helicopters to control intruders and Natural Calamities, seas and land rescue’s, will offer more services than F18 and old warship, toy’s to please the General’s for parading show off.

      The Philippines biggest terrorism and war problem are, starvation’s and ignorances, it’s should be fought by Books, Food and Water access, Health cares, Security, Know-How, discipline, environment protections, in short to protect the country from a total self destructions on the way by a Power/Robbery/Greed cancer metastasis.

      Education is the only existing medicine in urgent need,
      China is a US business, support them.

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