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

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs