News / Asia

Philippines 'Studying Options' on Proposed US Base-Sharing

Protesters display placards and banners as they march towards the gates of the U.S. Embassy during a protest in Manila, July 4, 2013.
Protesters display placards and banners as they march towards the gates of the U.S. Embassy during a protest in Manila, July 4, 2013.
Simone Orendain
As the Philippines looks to boost its military at a time of increasing tensions with China over territorial disputes, authorities are laying the groundwork for a military base-sharing arrangement with the United States. 

Philippine Ambassador to the U.S. Jose Cuisia said officials are combing through already existing security agreements between Manila and Washington to have a better idea of how a base sharing partnership would work. 

In particular, Cuisia said they are studying the Visiting Forces Agreement, which, since 2002, has allowed a contingent of about 500 American troops to rotate in and out of the restive area in Mindanao where the al-Qaida-linked Abu Sayyaf Group operates.

“Let me stress, whatever we agree to must benefit the Philippines because if it will not benefit us, then we will not agree to it.  It has to be mutually beneficial,” he said.

Cuisia said any shared use of bases would have to be within the framework of the Philippine Constitution. The U.S. had bases in the Philippines for almost 100 years until domestic opposition forced the last of them to close in 1992.

The plan would see more U.S. troops coming and going and American military hardware ready for use at such bases.  Some of the equipment is expected to come from U.S. military hardware being withdrawn from Afghanistan as well as some equipment from Iraq.

Cuisia said the proposal would support the country’s efforts to form a “minimal credible defense” posture and help to strengthen maritime security and maritime domain awareness. 

The Philippines is locked in a diplomatic dispute with China over sovereign claims in the resource-rich South China Sea.  Most recently, competing claims over Scarborough Shoal and Second Thomas Shoal have raised new tensions.  China, Taiwan and Vietnam claim practically the entire sea, while the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei have partial claims.

But Cuisia emphasizes that having U.S. forces around is not meant to address threats from any specific country.

Carl Baker, program director of the Pacific Forum of the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, said a base-sharing plan would likely be similar to the Joint Special Operations Task Force program in Mindanao.

“I think that’s sort of the model that they’re following.  So they can put people on these bases on a more permanent basis without calling it ‘permanent basing,’” he said.

Baker said by hosting American forces the Philippines wants to demonstrate to the world that the United States is prepared to live up to its commitment in the two countries’ Mutual Defense Treaty.  Still, the U.S. maintains a neutral position regarding territorial disputes in the South China Sea and elsewhere.  Baker added that U.S. officials want ready access to bases for air and sea forces in Southeast Asia.

Cuisia said the proposal is still in “informal talks” and various departments involved are waiting for President Benigno Aquino’s signal to enter into formal talks.  Aquino has indicated he is open to the plan and Cuisia confirmed the Philippines wants something in place before 2016 when the president’s term ends.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid