US BASES FACTS AND ISSUES:
C-C must tackle issue and people told the facts
Prepared jointly by INTERNATIONAL STUDIES INSTITUTE OF THE PHILIPPINES
UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES LAW COMPLEX,
UP MANILA COLLEGE OF ARTS AND SCIENCES
DIVISION OF SOCIAL SCIENCES,
THIRD WORLD MOVEMENT AGAINTS THE EXPLOITATION OF WOMEN
August 8, 1986
Clark Air Base and Subic Naval Base has become the subject of considerable discussed in the Philippine Media. The Filipino people are convinced that the US military presence is indeed useful and important to US interests. They are currently awakening to the dangers to regional security of the US bases as magnets for nuclear holocaust, and reacting to the gross violations of national sovereignty ad dignity.
At his point in our history, the writers of the new constitution have the sacred duty of tackling this serious question in the fundamental law of land. The Filipino people must be informed of the facts and issues related to the US bases in the Philippines in order to make an enlightened stand on the matter.
It is as a contribution to current discussions that we offer the following answers to questions frequently asked.
Are these American bases or Philippine Bases?
There is confusion created by those who believe that by a mere change of terms in the 1979 agreement making American “Philippine” and bases “facilities”, Philippine ownership of and sovereignty over the bases are thus assured.
Now withstanding the appointment of a Filipino base commander who is serving as chief security guard and the Philippine Flag decorated outside the base, the US maintains on our territory a state within a state which allows the US to engage in activities which is completely beyond Philippine control. The phrase used in “unhampered use of facilities.” Ask the Philippine base commander how much he knows about what actually goes on inside the base, and let’s see how much we control them.
Despite US embassy claims that the US forces occupy only eight percent of Clark Air Base and 42 percent of Subic Naval Base, the fact is the total land area about the size of Singapore and Washington, D.C., are concerned. Philippine development plans may not at all put to use the fields, mountains and seas for the good of the nationals.
Do the American bases create a magnet for nuclear attack?
The US bases in the Philippines, equipped with nuclear capable weaponry and strategic communications systems render the Filipino people vulnerable to massive retaliation in the event od nuclear war and thus threaten the very existence of the Filipino people.
Because of the size and strategic importance of the bases, it is likely that five-megaton bombs will be dropped on them. What happens if a bomb of this size explodes in a city (like Manila) of four million and 2.8 million will be injured maimed or incapacitated (Nuclear War in Europe, Prof. Henry Kendall, Senate Congressional Record, S4962, May 12, 1981).
It is foolhardy to assume that nuclear war is inevitable and therefore it is futile to remove the bases and that we might as well await the nuclear winter. Far from being fatalist, we take one crucial step to prevent such a disaster – no foreign military bases; no nuclear weapons here and elsewhere.
US bases facts and issues
Philippines had no choice; No bases, no independence
August 9, 1986
Is there diminution of sovereignty to have bases in the Philippines when other states also have bases?
To argue that the presence of US bases in both industrialized countries like the United Kingdom, the Federal Republic of Germany, and developing states like Cuba, Greece and Turkey, s an indication that such is not a diminution of sovereignty fails to make several distinctions.
For an independent state to allow another state to maintain military bases in its territory is without argument a diminution of the host state’s sovereignty. However, such infringement is one which the host state has consented to and it is maintained that the act of all independent state in relinquishing certain rights in its territory is an exercise of its sovereignty. Arguably, therefore, there is a legal justification for the presence of bases in other states.
But, did the Philippines give its consent to the establishment of these bases here?
The US is an erstwhile colonial master. When the Hare Hawes Cutting Law was passed by the US Congress as the Philippine Independence Act, it was rejected by the Philippine Legislature, because it allowed the US president to designate certain areas of the Philippine as US military bases before the Philippines acquires Independence.
Thus, the Tydings Mcduffie Law was passed, which provided only or “naval reservation and fueling stations,” and subject furthermore to negotiations between the presidents of the two governments, two years after independence. However, the outbreak of World War II caused a shift in US policy and by virtue of Joint Resolution No. 93 of the US Congress; the US president was authorized to negotiate with the president of the Commonwealth of the Republic of the Philippines, to withhold, acquire or retain bases in addition to the naval reservations and fueling stations already reserved in the Tydings Mcduffie Law.
In fact, before any such negotiations could result in a treaty or agreement, President Truman issued the Proclamation of Philippine Independence on July 4, 1946 subject to the reservation made in “US statures.” Clearly therefore, US military installations in the Philippines are here not because we agreed, but because they were imposed by the colonizers as a reservation upon the grant of independence. The Philippine has no choice.
Although the joint resolution spoke of negotiations between the president of both governments as regards the bases, the Philippines could not have validity consent at that time, as it was merely a commonwealth, subject to US sovereignty, and thus without capacity to enter into an international agreement. In the light of all these, the 1947 Agreement appears as the formalization of a fait accompli.
Are the terms of the US bases agreements with other states the same as with the Philippines?
When making a comparisons between states, it is not sufficient to merely point to the fact that there too bases within their territory. The nature of the bases and the conditions of their use must likewise be examined.
For Filipinos, a “foreign base” conjures the specter of extraterritoriality. It brings forth the image of a foreign enclave carved out of the national territory; a little America, where Filipinos, whether civilians or military, are afforded minimal access, where violations of Philippine law are not punishable by Philippine courts, where the dollar is the monetary denomination and where Philippine revenue, customs and immigration authorities have no jurisdiction.
An examination of the agreements of other states governing US bases in their territory reveals a different picture. For the European states, including Turkey, the base must be viewed in the context of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Although they are used by the US, in compliance with their obligation to cooperate for mutual defense, the bases are not “US bases” but remain Spanish, Turkish, Greek, etc., bases
Us bases facts and issues
Rent or aid? Whichever, other host states get more.
August 10, 1986
The 1976 Spanish Treaty grants Spain a greater degree of control over the areas and over the strength levels or personnel. The US is to furnish an inventory of facilities within each Spanish military base or connected with it, such as lands, buildings, installations, and other major permanent items, indicating the purpose for which they are used. The parties shall also maintain a list containing the identification and general strength levels of all the US military units stationed in Spain for the use and maintenance of those facilities.
Moreover, the time and manner of utilization of the facilities I the event of external threat or attack against the security of the West, is to be subject to consultation between the countries and the decision shall be reached by mutual agreement.
In Turkey, the US is merely allowed “to participate in the defense measures to be carried out in the installations,” which remain Turkish Armed Forces installations. The installations shall be jointly manned by US and Turkish personnel, the latter to constitute installation. Periodic reports are to be furnished to the Turkish government as to the US levels of strength.
Greece substantially has the same provisions.
Perhaps realizing the virtual surrender of sovereignty affected by the 1947 Military Bases Agreement, the Philippine government demanded in 1976 that the bases be denominated “Philippine Military Bases” over which the Philippine base commander. However, beyond these cosmetic measure, the bases remain essentially US controlled pursuant to the US position that provision similar to those in treaties with NATO countries will be prejudices to the free ad unhampered used of the facilities in the Philippines.
Are there protests against US bases in other countries?
We know for a fact that there have been peace marches, pickets and protests all over the world. Women’s groups in particular have been outstanding in the zeal, courage and perseverance manifested in their struggle for peace. We have the inspiring examples of the women of Greenham common, U.K., West Germany, Norway, Japan, the Pacific and other regions. They certainly have made their cry heard loud and strong: No missiles, no nuclear weapons, no foreign military bases!
Is the money paid to the Philippines aid or rent?
The US can offer nothing more than the assurance that its executive branch will exert its “best efforts” to obtain from the US Congress, appropriations for security assistance to the Philippines. This is in return for the “rent-free” use for military bases, wherein the US has the full exercise of right, powers and authority, as well as the right to employ all public utilities, roads, and highways, lakes, river and streams at par with the Armed Forces of the Philippines.”
For the period 1979 to 1984, this amounted to $500 million broken down as $50 million in military assistance in foreign military sales credit ad $200 million in security support assistance. For the period 1985 to 1989, these “best efforts” were directed at securing $90 million broken down as follow: $475 million in grant economic supports funds, $300 million in foreign military sales credit and $125 million in grant military assistance.
The claim that the US does not pay rent for bases which are utilized for mutual defense is belied by its 1903 treaty with Cuba. The US agreed to pay rent for the use of coaling and naval stations, although these were allegedly established to enable the US to maintain the independence of Cuba and to protect the Cuban people.
Are other host states receiving more grants or aid from the US?
An even more glaring contrast may be seen in its 1976 treaty with Spain wherein a total amount of $1.22 billion over a period of five years is granted. This amount is broken down as follows:
Grant: Defense articles. $75 million; military training $10 million; scientific and technical programs $23 million; educational and cultural cooperation’s $12 million; and US contribution to aircraft control and warning network $50 million. Total: $170 million.
Credits and load guarantees: Repayment guarantees on foreign military sales loans $600 million: and expected Fx-Im Bank credits/guarantees, $450 million. Total $1050 million.
In addition, Spain may acquire on favorable terms, war vessels and aircraft by sale, lease and exchange. In reporting this treaty to the floor, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee noted that the US would be committing itself in advance to the payment of these amounts and a failure of Congress to appropriate these amounts would constitute a violation of its treaty.
US bases facts and issues
Sex industry, “souvenir babies” and other problems
August 11, 1986
From the point of size of the military assistance as consideration for the use of the bases, the Philippines does shot receive any preferential treatment, as the US would like the Filipinos believes. Turkey will receive $1 billion for the first four years, $200 million for four years assistance program.
The 1981 readers Digest Almanac and Yearbook shows that of the 13 countries hosting US bases, the Philippine rank only eight as to the total US aid given, to wit.
Korea ($14.107 billion); United Kingdom ($10.137 billion); Turkey ($7.839 billion); Japan ($7.343 billion); Italy ($6.612 billion); Greece ($5. 286 billion); Germany (FRG) ($5.208 billion) and Philippines ($3.399 billion)
In fact, the same source reports that the following vocally non aligned countries have been recipients of higher aid than the Philippines: India ($12.944 billion); Pakistan ($6.379 billion); and Yugoslavia ($3.649 billion).
Moreover, the Philippines, like Japan is required to contribute financially to the cost of maintaining the US forces stationed here. Members of the Military Assistance Group sent to the Philippines pursuant to the 1947 Military Assistance Agreement are entitled to special cost of living allowances, compensation for expenses incurred in travel to the Philippines, and to suitable living quarters for themselves and their families well as sustainable buildings and office space. These amounts shall be paid by the US government subject to reimbursement by the Philippine government.
It is clear, therefore, that the Philippines does not receive s much as its fellow states hosting US bases and whatever it does receive is dependent on the whims of bot the US executive ad legislative bodies, there being no binding treaty commitment to pay.
What about the social and moral issues associated with the bases (bars, prostitution, orphans)?
The “sex industry” around which the economy of Olongapo and Angeles cities thrives is built on the jaw of supply and demand. If there were no demand for “hospitality girls” and prostitution the supply will stop. Without the quick employment offered, job seekers in the sec strips would stay in their place of origin. As a Lutheran pastor put it, “there will always be an Olongapo as long as the Seventh Fleet piles the Pacific.)
Base Related prostitution is far worse than local prostitution which is private and small. Because there are thousand of American servicemen at any given time, thousands of Filipinos women are lured into the “sex industry.” Here is a question of mass, Trans nationalized and institutionalized prostitution.
Whoever opts for the retention of the bases and above al, whoever is part of US militarist geopolitics is answerable for:
<!–[if !supportLists]–> 1. <!–[endif]–> The violation of human rights since prostitution is a violation of human rights (UNESCO Meeting of International experts, Madrid 1986).
<!–[if !supportLists]–> 2. <!–[endif]–> The sexual abuse of children (documented cases of child prostitution);
<!–[if !supportLists]–> 3. <!–[endif]–> The siring of thousands of Amer Asians. (the number f RP “souvenir babies” is the highest in the world);
<!–[if !supportLists]–> 4. <!–[endif]–> The epidemic rate of sexually transmitted diseased (an alarming number of AIDS victim);
<!–[if !supportLists]–> 5. <!–[endif]–> Drug addiction of boys whose self worth is threatened by the colonial outlook of their female peers who look up to the American GIs;
<!–[if !supportLists]–> 6. <!–[endif]–> Drug trafficking (American servicemen smuggle dangerous drugs ad use the prostitutes to sell them main to Australians);
<!–[if !supportLists]–> 7. <!–[endif]–> Rackets and crimes (admitted by US Congressmen); and
<!–[if !supportLists]–> 8. <!–[endif]–> Moral and cultural degradation of our people.
US bases facts and issues
Yes, nuke arms that serve no purpose’ are stored here
August 12, 1986
It is preposterous to say that all this is due to human nature. Social forces like the American military presence have a decisive role and eliminating them will drastically change the picture.
It is folly to assume that prostitution is proliferated in the same manner and to the same degree by other countries military base. Whereas the patriarchal nature of militarism in universal, no other bases have R &R’s that sexually exploit women and children to the extent that the US bases do in Olongapo, Angeles and other parts of the world. Whatever alleviation to moral depravity effected by the base is but palliatives that fall to cure the social cancer.
Are the nuclear weapons in the bases?
Yes, there are. As early as 1975, the Center for Defense Information, a non-government “think tank” in the US on defense issues, has identified at least 54 tactical nuclear weapons stored in US military bases and facilities in the Philippines making our territory one of the main storage areas for nuclear arms in the Western Pacific.
More recently, Former Rear Admiral General La Roque, US Navy, who is the director of the Center for Defense Information, testified before the US Congress in June 28, 1983 that tactical nuclear weapons were indeed stored in US facilities in the Philippines and “they serve no useful purpose and only make the chance of a catastrophic US USSR confrontation much greater.” Such arsenal has been further beefed up with the additional deployment off nuclear tipped Tomahawk cruise missiles in the Pacific especially with the home porting of Tomahawk armed warships at Subic Naval Base. B-5211 Bombers equipped with cruise missiles based in Guam also enjoy regular access to Clark Air Base.
The recent report of William Arkin of the Institute of Policy Studies Arms Race and Nuclear Weapons Research Project regarding the additional deployment and beefing up of tactical nuclear weapons in several US overseas bases including the Philippines even without consulting the hosting country’s government, has further given our predicament to alarming proportions. Nuclear weapons storage facilities are protected by contingency plans such as those issued on March 10, 1978, by the US Commander at Subic (Instruction No. C80 20 IA) prescribing procedures to be allowed in case of “nuclear material significant events.”
Even Filipino workers in the US military bases in the Philippines seem to be so sure of the storage and deployment of nuclear weapons inside the US bases that they started to demand for a “nuclear risk booms” in view of reports that “US Navy warships dropping anchor at the naval base may be carrying nuclear weapons in addition to those believed already stockpiled in the US facilities.
The specific characteristics of the nuclear weapons systems deployed in US military bases, the types of weapons, their range, and number of warheads and their payload – all these are known only to the American authorities who are in charge of nuclear forces. In the negotiations on the 1979 Amendments to the Military bases Agreement, the American panel refused to take up the question of nuclear weapons. Philip Barringer, a member of the panel said “Now we aren’t getting into this subject. As you know, our policy is simply that of not confirming or denying the presence of nuclear weapons.”
In other words, the US position is the question of nuclear weapons in the Philippines in not the business of Filipinos. This is better left to US nuclear strategy and was planning. Clearly in the light of Filipino national interest, this arrogant and inflexible US position is untenable. It opens our territory to direct nuclear attack and the concrete possibility of nuclear annihilation.
Under existing arrangements, how are Filipino laborers in the base treated?
Filipino bases laborers may be divided into two groups: The so-called “direct-hire” and the “private hire” workers. Both types of workers are not covered by Philippine labor laws. Thus, they cannot assert their right to self-organization, collective bargaining and concerted activities to the extent guaranteed by the amended Philippine Labor Code unlike in Japan or in Korea where base labor relations conform closely to the host country’s labor laws.
Although claim is made that the direct-hire employees enjoy similar wage levels as workers in other Philippine progressive firms, base workers are, in really, exploited.
- Unequal pay for equal work is the rule. Americans doing the same work are paid excessively much higher than Filipinos. Moreover, Filipino workers are paid one-fourth of what the US pays to Japanese base workers and one-half of what for the same level of productivity.
- Since the standard of living is much higher in Olongapo and Angeles than in Manila, the “wage survey” annually considered by base authorities in as obscure exercise even for union leaders. Wage determination effectively prevents base laborers from demanding higher and more equitable wage rates.
- Given the strategic importance of the base and therefore the role of the bas workers in the overall basing system of the US, the claim that the rate of pay must depend on the economy in which the worker is employed, is without significance.
- Filipino employees enjoy no security of tenure. Positions can be abolished, downgraded, reclassified or contracted out depending in the felt exigencies of the base authorities.
Because an expanding number of jobs are contracted out, more and more Filipino employees lose receive lower wages as compared to workers with “direct-hire” status, are not covered by the minimal benefits derived from the CPA; and are further exploited by their contractors.
US bases facts and issues
If asked, will the Americans pull out their bases in 1991?
August 13, 1986
What happens if the Philippines ask the Americans to leave in 1991? Will they really go?
The American Guantanamo base in Cuba is an unwanted occupant on Cuban Soil, held against the wished of the Cuban government and people. Although we gave never known the US to feel a military base was not essential, the base it holds in Cuba (Guantanamo) is an example of one which clearly threatens Cuba and its people but is one of nominal value to American defense. And yet the Americans keep on maintaining it.
In the case of the Philippines, so important are those facilities for the US that during the Marcos regime, the US government used the maintenance of the base as a justification for funneling hundreds of millions of dollars in military and other forms of aid to the repressive Marcos dictatorship. This aid was used to thwart the human rights and legitimate aspirations for democracy and self-determination of the Filipino people.
The US might eventually have to be kicked out as the case of the Wheelers Air Force Base when Kaddafi took over in Libya.
Could not the Philippines make better use of the land and facilities for its own development objectives?
At present, nowhere else can Americans exploit such a hire world force for a mere pittance. Filipino workers here are paid for less than the US American bases here are a paymaster’s dream.
Mish is often made of the fact that the bases employ at least 40,000 Filipinos, which is less than one percent of the Philippine non-agricultural labor force, and that the bases pump some $260M annually into the local economy. As a political analyst, Alejandro Fernandez said only a small fraction of American disbursements finds its way into the Philippine economy because most of the appropriations for the bases are actually spent for maintenance and repair which do not entail contact servicing by Filipino firms and most purchases of consumption goods by base personnel are made at tax-free PX commissions.
The most often chased foods by US servicemen are prostitutes and drugs, social problems most acute in the areas around the bases. Certainly there are economic alternatives which can more than compensate for what we presently get from the bases the transformation of these into commercial ports, an international airport, agro-industrial and commercial complexes, transportation, communications and tourist centers. These productive post bases scenarios have been seriously studied by the US Congressional Mansfield Report, by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and by several other groups. How about the problem of criminal jurisdiction? Did Philippine authorities assume more power over the prosecution of abuses committed by US servicemen considering the 1979 and 1983 amendments to the MBA?
The 1979 and 1983 provisions did not introduce anything of instituted way back in 1965. As such, the crimes and abuses of US servicemen committed against. Filipino civilians are not feasibly within the reach of Philippine judicial proceeding – which has always been the case since 1947.
The 1983 Dougherty case is one of many instances of abuse, which situation has sobered according to base authorities. Non-assumption of Philippine jurisdiction over crimes and human rights abuses attests to the fact that the US base commands still distrust the criminal justice system of the country when applied to their erring military personnel.
US bases facts and issues
US forces in RP involved in counter-insurgency operations
August 14, 1986
Are US forces involved in counter insurgency in the Philippines?
There is evidence to the effect that the US bases especially during night time of Marcos and Magsaysay were used for the purpose of providing combat support (training and logistics) against insurgency. This is based on the US Congressional testimonies of US Pentagon officials themselves.
Since there is no present external threat, US bases serve only to protect US and local vested interest from internal threat, a fact admitted by US officials themselves.
For example, the following exchanges, which took place in the hearings before the Sub-Committee in US Security Agreement and Commitments Abroad of the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations in 1970, are instructive:
Symington: “What therefore is the real purpose of this military assistance? Doesn’t it come down to a quid pro quo for the bases and a means of contributing to the Filipino government?”
Warren: “In my opinion, to a degree, sir. But it is also help the Filipino forces to physically protect US forces in the Philippines”
Symington: “From whom?”
Warren: “Internally, sir to maintain internal security and stability and, thereby maker our own activities over there more secure.”
Symington: “In other words, we are paying the Philippine Government to protect us from the Philippine people who do not agree with the policies of the government or do not like the Americans?”
Warren: “To a degree, yes, sir.”
Is it true that the Asian nations want the retention of the military bases in the Philippines”
The presence of military bases in the Asian region is incompatible with the clear intention of the Asian countries. The Asian members solemnly recognize in the Asian Declaration on the Neutralization of Southeast Asia of November 1971 “the significant trend towards establishing nuclear free zones”. They agreed in this Declaration “that the neutralization of Southeast Asia is a desirable objective and that we should explore ways and means of bringing about its realization”.
They then affirmed “that Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand are determined to initially exert efforts to secure the recognition of and respect for Southeast Asia as Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality, free from any form or manner of interference by outside Powers.”
Directly pertinent is the Joint Communiqué of the 19th Asian Ministerial Meeting, held in Manila last June 23-24, 1986, which in part states as follows:
“They (the Asian Foreign Ministers) noted with satisfaction the Progress Repost of the Working Group on ZOPFAN (Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality) which has been entrusted with the task of studying the concept of a Southeast Asia Nuclear Free Zone (SEA/ NWFZ), as a component of ZOPFAN. The Foreign Ministers requested the Senior Officials and the Working Group to continue with the consideration of the subject in all its aspects, including a comprehensive definition of the principles , objectives and elements involved with a view to drafting as soon as possible a treaty on the SEA/NWFZ taking into account all its implications (underscoring supplied).
The principles of peace and neutrality and the nature of a nuclear weapons free zone obviously reject the presence of foreign military bases in the ASEAN region.
It is argued that unilateral denunciation (abrogation) of the military bases agreement is contrary to international law and will make the Philippines an unreliable party to an international agreement. Is this argument valid?
This is not a valid argument. The present state of international law allows unilateral denunciation or withdrawal from a treaty which contains no provision regarding denunciation or termination, such as the military bases agreement (MBA).
Article 56 of the Vienna Convention of the Law of Treaties (which is already in force and has been ratified by the Philippines) expressly allows unilateral denunciation or termination in two instances, namely where a) it sis established that the parties intended to admit the possibility of denunciation or withdrawal; or (b) a right of denunciation or withdrawal may be implied by the nature of the treaty.
The only condition required by this Convention is that there be a “twelve months’ notice” of the intention to denounce or withdraw from a treaty.
US bases facts and issues
Our national sovereignty is not a negotiable commodity
August 15, 1986
The MBA belongs to the second category of treaties subject to unilateral termination of denunciation, as set forth in item (b) above. The MBA takes the character of a military or political alliance, which by nature is not to be regarded as in perpetuity but subject to a specific policy of limited duration. These are the kind of treaties which are regarded by well-known publicists in international law, such as Judge T. O. Elias, former President of the International Court of Justice in his book. The Modern Law of Treaties (Oceana Publications, 1974, p 106), as covered by Article 56 above.
Reflecting the prevailing view as now embodied in the Vienna Convention, Judge Elias states that “the mere absence/specific provision of a right of termination or withdrawal in the treaty should not be interpreted to mean that the right is thereby taken away”. This position is to be preferred because according to him, “it is consistent with principle and makes for a certain degree of flexibility, provided that reasonable notice is given, by the party wanting to denounce or withdraw, to the other parties to the treaty”. (Id, p. 105)
Why should the constitution include a provision against the establishment of military bases in Philippines territory? Should it override existing policies or the exercise of discretion (or option) of the president?
Even if the members of the present Constitutional Commission are appointed by the President, the Con-Com is a separate and independent body, responsible only to the people. The members of the Commission, individually and collectively, are not answerable to the president not to any other official of the government.
The Con-Com is engaged in the farming of a fundamental law which is the highest expression of popular will. It is undertaking the formation of a sovereign act of the Filipino people. Since one of the most important objectives of Constitution making is to effect desirable changes in the existing state of affairs, the resulting Charter mish necessarily predominate over all existing policies and laws which the people consider inimical to their interests.
The presence of US military bases (or of any other foreign power) in Philippine territory is a clear derogation of our national sovereignty. It constitutes the most restriction on our independence as people in dealing with the United States itself and with other countries, especially because foreign military bases involve the use of superior military hardware that can be applied against us actually or as threat. Hence, the whole nation has the right to decide on this question. The national plebiscite for the New Constitution is the best occasion for this purpose.
So overriding are the interests of national independence and dignity involved in the issues of foreign military bases that they must be protected in the Constitution. Through this mean, they are placed beyond the reach of political expediency, partisan strife or interplay of selfish motives.
National sovereignty is not a negotiable commodity. It is not a bargaining matter with American policymakers with respect to getting economic or financial assistance from the US government. The Filipino people have only one option to strengthen it and to do away with all foreign military bases from Philippine soil.
Are there provisions regarding foreign military bases in existing constitutions?
Yes. Article 146 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran provides: “No foreign military base shall be set up in Iran even though it should bear the guise of peaceful purpose.”
Also relevant is Article 153 of Iran’s fundamental law: “No contract – involving foreign domination over the natural and economic resources, the culture, the army and other domains of the nation is allowed to be concluded.”
It is well known that Article 10 of the Constitution of the Republic of Cuba contemplates the “treaty” establishing the US Guantanamo military base in Cuba territory. This article provides: “The Republic of Cuba rejects and considers null all treaties, pacts, and concessions which were signed in conditions of inequality, or which disregards or diminish its sovereignty over any part of the nation territory.”
Is this issue of the US bases a matter of concern only for the radical left?
By no means should it be said that only the radical left are nationalists. Every citizen of the country has the honor and the duty to make national sovereignty a reality and not a force. Allowing US bases to exist under the illusion that they are Philippine bases is an insult to our intelligence and integrity.
Nor should any one felt like a subversive for fighting foreign domination in any form. The subversives are those who sell our country for a song – a rent free agreement with “aid” that humiliates and exacts subservience.
After winning back the respects of the world, let President Cory Aquino, her Cabinet, and all of us hold our heads high with national pride. No longer should we hanker and beg for that carrot stick of “aid”, no matter how large and tempting it may be.
To allow the bases to remain is to support militarist expansionism, an act contrary to the spirit of the United Nations. The path of peace for us is not through the door of military bases. These would but spawn nuclear stockpiling and give one more venue for aggression and war. The UN call for total disarmament implicitly means the dismantling of the US bases. This is a noble task, legitimate and laudable.
To make this stand clear and known is an important step toward nation building and world peace. Bringing this line of thought and action to the attention of President Cory Aquino is one attempt to help her make the one and only correct option. Indeed we are reaching a point where her good judgment is put to a test.
What will prevail – R.P. views or US view?
The date posted here is due to our website rebuild, it does not reflect the original date this article was posted. This article was originally posted in Yonip in Jan 28th 2012