News / Asia

Philippines Reaches Consensus on Temporary US Military Facilities

FILE - Philippine and U.S. negotiators discussing U.S. troop presence in the Philippines are seen meeting at the Department of National Defense headquarters in Quezon city, north of Manila.
FILE - Philippine and U.S. negotiators discussing U.S. troop presence in the Philippines are seen meeting at the Department of National Defense headquarters in Quezon city, north of Manila.
Simone Orendain
Philippine officials announced that they have reached a “consensus” with the United States on a plan to host temporary U.S. military facilities on Philippine bases. The two countries are in the last stages of negotiations to increase the number of American troop visits each year. 
 
The Philippine negotiating panel said the issue of giving the Philippines authority to enter facilities used by American troops has been the foremost concern in ongoing talks. 
 
The negotiators said language in the agreement would allow Philippine authorities access to wherever the U.S. troops would be.
 
A member of the panel, Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia Eduardo Malaya, said the provision is clear.
 
“They cannot say ‘no.’ This is within Philippine base. There are no extra-territorial features. There is no exclusivity feature… And Philippine law prevails there,” said Malaya.
 
Malaya noted that exceptions would be made if the U.S. cited security and safety concerns.
 
As part of its foreign policy shift toward Asia, the U.S. wants the ability to land planes, dock ships and keep equipment ready for use in the Philippines. 
 
The Philippines, with its weak and aging military, is looking to bolster its minimum credible defense posture in the face of a heated territorial dispute with China.
 
Beijing and Manila have competing claims to rocky outcroppings in the South China Sea. In recent weeks the Philippines submitted protests to China over alleged harassment of its vessels near contested shoals. Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims in the resource rich sea, which is a major trade route.
 
In 1991, under domestic pressure, the Philippines booted out the nearly century-old American bases here. Less than 10 years later the two countries entered into a visiting forces agreement that has seen hundreds of U.S. troops rotating into the Philippines’ south on a regular basis.
 
The proposed agreement emphasizes adherence to the Philippine constitution, which does not allow bases for foreign powers. With the arrangement currently being discussed, Philippine officials are reluctant to say any of the proposed American facilities would be akin to a full-fledged military base.
 
Lead negotiator Defense Undersecretary Pio Lorenzo Batino said the arrangement would not be a “base within a base” set-up.
 
“The locations provided to the U.S. troops would not be exclusive to them. [They could] be jointly used… The facilities would be used to obtain mutual benefits for the U.S. armed forces and the Philippine armed forces,” said Batino.
 
Negotiators say they do not expect the duration of the agreement to be longer than 20 years. 
 
It is not known if an agreement will be completed by the time of U.S. President Barrack Obama’s expected trip to the Philippines in April.
 
Another round of talks is scheduled for the end of the month.

You May Like

Ukraine President Appeals for More US Support

Speaking before Congress ahead of meeting with President Obama, Petro Poroshenko urges lawmakers to back Ukraine in its quest for freedom and democracy More

Photogallery Global Audience Watches as Scots Go to Polls

People were almost equally divided over a vote for independence, watched closely by Britain's allies, investors and restive regions at home and abroad More

China to Invest $20B in India Amid Border Dispute

Border spat between armies of two countries in Himalayas underlines mutual tensions despite growing commercial ties highlighted by Xi Jinping's high-profile visit More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid