No permanent US bases–Hagel

But Gazmin says US can use Subic, other PH military facilities


Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. AP FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Visiting American Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Friday allayed fears that the United States’ pivot to the Asia Pacific would revive permanent bases in the Philippines.

Hagel said he and President Benigno Aquino III discussed expanding the US military’s presence in the Philippines as its Asian ally looks to defend its territorial claims in disputed waters.

But before both countries could sign a deal, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin appeared to throw Philippine doors even wider to American troops and vessels.

Gazmin said American troops and vessels would gain access not only to the former naval base in Subic, Zambales, but also to military facilities across the archipelago.

Hagel, who paid a courtesy call on President Aquino in Malacañang Friday morning, said the framework agreement on the increased rotational presence would boost cooperation between the two militaries.

Cold War mentality

“The United States does not seek permanent bases in the Philippines. That would represent a return to an outdated Cold War mentality,’’ Hagel told foreign and local journalists in a joint briefing with Gazmin in Malacañang.

What the United States has in mind is a “new model of military to military cooperation,’’ similar to what it has forged with Singapore and Australia, Hagel said.

“Such an arrangement would benefit both our militaries by increasing our ability to train and operate together. Deepening engagement opportunities between our forces will further support President Aquino’s defense modernization agenda,’’ he said.

In response to reporters’ question, Hagel clarified that he was speaking of the “rotational approach.’’

“I think this is one that is in the interest certainly of the United States. The Filipinos will decide whether they believe that’s in their interest or not. We are already working together on ship repair in Subic. So there are already many interests that are there and developing and deepening, but it has to be in the interest of everyone,’’ he said.

It would serve the “interest” of the Philippines, now locked in a dispute with China over a group of islands in the West Philippine Sea, to negotiate the framework agreement, Malacañang had said.

The planned agreement, which dovetailed with the United States’ pivot to the Asia Pacific, would allow US access to existing military facilities in the country.

‘Necessity to rebalance’

In the face of Beijing’s growing might, Washington last year saw the necessity to rebalance toward Asia Pacific and deploy 60 percent of the Navy fleet to the region by 2020.

Gazmin, for his part, said areas accessible by the US military would not be limited to the Subic Bay Freeport Zone.

“You talked about the openness to Subic, and Subic Bay is one of the facilities  mentioned as for US forces to access in. As soon as the framework agreement is complete, we will provide the necessary access to all these facilities; and this is not limited only to Subic but to Philippine military facilities, if necessary,’’ he said.

Gazmin added that the enhanced engagement with the United States would translate to “more forces and more engagements.’’

Hagel reiterated the US support for the move of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to negotiate a code of conduct “to manage’’ disagreements and tensions in the South China Sea.

He said the United States also encouraged nations to resolve disputes through internationally accepted mechanisms and in accordance with international law “without coercion or militarized attempts to alter the status quo.’’

“The United States appreciates the Philippines’ efforts to solve its dispute through peaceful means,’’ he said.

“As the United States rebalance to the Asia Pacific makes clear, this region is very important to America’s economic, strategic and security interests, both now and in the years to come. So I look forward to continuing our engagement in the region. As much as I know, President Obama is looking forward to his coming visit,’’ he said.

He deferred to the White House to give details of Obama’s visit.

In Davao City, Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate said Hagel’s meeting with the President undermined the efforts of the Senate and Congress to review the constitutionality of the access agreement and the Mutual Defense Treaty.

The Makabayan bloc has called for the scrapping of the 13-year-old Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) through House Resolution No. 8.

Gov’t salivating

“This meeting sends a signal that the Philippine government is salivating on the proposed closer defense ties with the US government to the extent of letting it off the hook for its crimes against the Filipino people,” Zarate said.

He also raised objections to Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario’s statement that US soldiers may use Philippine military bases should a war break out between North And South Korea.

“The Philippine government is freely letting the US government use our country as a staging ground for war against North Korea and China, to the detriment of the Filipino people who are dubious as to the real intention of their overdue stay in the country,” he said.

Zarate said he will take these issues in the congressional deliberations on the budget of the Department of Foreign Affairs as well as in the meeting of the Legislative Oversight Committee on the VFA. With reports from Karlos Manlupig and Allan Nawal, Inquirer Mindanao, and AFP


Get Inquirer updates while on the go, add us on these apps:

Inquirer Viber

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • Jozz

    We still need to strengthen our navy and it is best to have the Saar-72 as core of our navy. It is light, stealthy and fast. It needs a small crew only yet has a light phased array radar, 8 antiship missiles, has the Barak anti-aircraft/anti-missile-missile, etc. We can also add the Torbuster anti-torpedo to it plus other anti-submarine capabilities. All these for a vessel that’s about 1/3 the size of a destroyer and a lot cheaper, yet with better or equal a brand new destroyer’s capabilities, and we can buy more of them for the price of a destroyer. This will be good good for our defense and for a more meaningful naval alliance with our partners.

    • walaywalay

      haha yea right imagine the poor man of Asia buying a Israel made SAARS–S-72 which in 1990 cost $260 mil US to build the coast guard version not the navy version–today the same ship costs $1 billion US to build 23? times the entire 2013 RP budget—$45.5 mil US
      built in Singapore how many would you Iike?

      • Jozz

        hahaha… SAAR 72 not yet operational even in Israeli navy. You are sooooo ignorant there is no Saar 72 yet. Its just a finished design and concept now. Hey you so poor writing in english. I better teach you. hha. $300 mil US only 1 year. hha

    • diverme

      Another armchair soldier who is stuck in lala land.

  • go88

    Expect rise of STD in the country when the bases open and the number of HIV cases exploding. Will this submissive government go against the all mighty US pharmaceutical industry and allow the production of generic drugs following the steps of India and South Africa? I think we all know the answer :).

    • crazy_horse_101010

      HAWHAWHAWHAW wear a condom dummy then you might not get aids . and what is this we we think you are funny anyway unlike here the american military has checkups for aids and you canot get into the miltary if you have aids. and im americas aids is dropping unlike here where it is rising . so anyway according to your papers it is already exploding

      • go88

        Comrade condom break, ask around you … you know who :) ….. your servicemen get checked for HIV only every two years and the incubation period is of min. 6 months …. even veteran se*x tourists in south east asia are avoiding the areas where the US navy goes because of STDs. Those sailors get bored on the long trip from San Francisco to Manila, Pattaya ….. the women crew only service officers, the night are hots, they watch each other exercising in the gym, … that’s why they like to do ‘things’ to each others :).

      • Punyëtero»Ka

        Now you confess how you got AIDS for banging those male prosties in Shanghai! We knew you wear condoms, but not those who bangs you in the arse! That’s what you get for arsefocking & getting arsefocked! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

  • diverme

    We want permanent bases here!! Dont mind those militants who complain about everything!!

  • ofwme2807

    Philippines has no choice now, we have to ask the US for more troops, warships and fighter aircraft to visit and rotate regularly..US is making pivot and this is favoring and helping us in the face of imminent threat from the big bully…More access, more troops and more war materials stationed in Subic and Clark and rotate as often as it takes.

  • PagpagLasangPino-cchio

    Welcome back the White and Black Trash of America. We want your dirty trash people coming to fck, rape and belittle our brown tightazz girls and mamas like little fcking bodies to be molested We love to sck your dirty uncircumcised dccks. Pls come my dear Joe Joes.

    • Punyëtero»Ka

      Goodbye Sir Pervert with the dandruff (balakubak) on his arse for all the arsefocking Hugo & the rest of their crew did on him! Akala mo hindi supot e ang purico sa uten makapal pa sa natulog na mantika ng adobo! HAHAHAHAHA!!

  • joboni96

    lokohin mo lelong mong
    imperyalistang panot

    mga collaborators lang pati mga senador at high gov’t officials
    ang bulag sa realidad

    syempre tatamaan sa bulsa o
    sa posisyon kung papalag mga collaborators na ito

    matagal ng may permanent military presence o
    sa madaling salita base sa pilipinas

    ang imperyalistang u.s.
    panahon pa ni zte aroyo and before

  • 33Sam







To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.

Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:

c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City,Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


editors' picks




latest videos