Philippines may allow US bases if Korean tensions escalate

Manila (Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN) - Philippine Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin on Friday raised the possibility of the United States again being allowed to locate military bases in the Philippines if war should break out in the Korean Peninsula.

Gazmin conceded that the Constitution bans the establishment of US bases here.

"But in cases of extreme emergency, there are extreme measures to be undertaken. Maybe this is one of them," he said.

US military presence is an emotionally-charged issue in the Philippines which in 1992 officially ended 93 years of US basing rights in the country when the US flag was lowered and the US Pacific Fleet sailed away from Subic Naval Base.

 








A year before, the Senate had voted not to renew the US leases to Clark Air Force Base and Subic Naval Base, then the two largest US military facilities outside the United States.

Denying US access to military bases was subsequently written into the 1987 Constitution that was drafted after the first Edsa People Power Revolution of 1986.

If war breaks out

Gazmin and other defense department officials believe that could quickly change if North Korea makes good its threat to launch a nuclear attack on South Korea, the US and its allies in the Pacific.

However, Gazmin clarified that the Philippines and the US have not yet discussed the possibility.

Defense spokesperson Peter Paul Galvez explained that in the same way that a war in the Korean Peninsula is being discussed in the context of a world war, so is the possibility of basing US forces in the Philippines.

"If war breaks out, will we recommend to Congress to allow the US to have staging areas here? That's still a question we have to thresh out," Galvez said.

'Rotational' presence

Gazmin pointed out that even in the absence of US military bases, Philippine and US military cooperation can be seen in "exercises and increased rotational presence of American troops here in the area involved in exercises and training."

The 62-year-old Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) between the Philippines and the US allows an extended stay of US troops in the Philippines.

"But there is a gray area between an actual basing and an extended stay," Galvez said.

He said that in the event of a war, an advanced command post, for example, would need coordination with land, air and naval assets.

"That is all in the MDT," he said.

Galvez also stressed that Gazmin was not superseding the Constitution when the defense secretary broached the possibility of basing US troops in the Philippines should tensions in the Korean Peninsula escalate to a full-blown war.

"A good question to ask the Supreme Court is, will the Constitution hold if a world war breaks out?" he said.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Philippine, Vietnamese troops play soccer and sing on disputed island

    By Manuel Mogato MANILA (Reuters) - Vietnamese and Philippine troops played soccer and sang karaoke on a South China Sea island on Wednesday in a sign of the growing security ties between the two Southeast Asian nations most at odds with Beijing over the contested waterway. Cooperation has blossomed between Hanoi and Manila since they shelved decades of enmity over their competing claims in the Spratly archipelago to try to counter China, whose creation of artificial islands in the region …

  • SE Asia Stocks - Fall on renewed U.S. rate hike concerns

    BANGKOK, May 27 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets tumbled on Wednesday as investors resumed selling on expectations of an interest rate hike in the U.S. sooner rather than later, derailing Philippine ... …

  • Phl, US defense chiefs to meet on sea dispute
    Phl, US defense chiefs to meet on sea dispute

    As US aircraft carrier USS Ronald Regan began its journey to Asian waters amid China’s power flexing in the region, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin would try to hear directly from his US counterpart how far America is willing to go to aid its long-time ally against China’s threatening moves in disputed waters. Gazmin flew to Hawaii last Monday to attend ceremonies for the turnover of leadership of the United States Pacific Command (USPACOM) from Admiral Samuel Locklear to Admiral Harry …

  • Water in Angat Dam falls below critical level
    Water in Angat Dam falls below critical level

    The water level of Angat Dam in Bulacan yesterday fell below the 180-meter critical level for irrigation, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said. PAGASA said the dam’s water level further dropped to 179.98 meters as of 6 a.m. yesterday from 180.2 meters on Monday. The priority is the domestic consumption in Metro Manila, according to PAGASA. …

  • PCSO gets P3-B fund for medical aid
    PCSO gets P3-B fund for medical aid

    The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) reported yesterday that an estimated P3-billion charity fund has been allocated by Congress to the agency to provide medical assistance to indigent patients and also give funds to other government offices including the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Crop Insurance Program. …

  • Image of Asia: Tearing down squatters' homes near Manila
    Image of Asia: Tearing down squatters' homes near Manila

    In this photo by Bullit Marquez, a demolition crew begins to tear down a squatters' community at suburban Caloocan city, north of Manila, Philippines. Population growth and the lack of economic opportunities in rural areas have driven millions of Filipinos into the squatters' colonies that dot the sprawling metropolitan area in and around Manila. Most of the land they occupy is privately owned, and clearing the dwellings often results in violence. The landowner had offered about $1,344 in …

  • SE Asia Stocks - Mostly down; Thai shares near 2-week low

    BANGKOK, May 26 (Reuters) - Most sharemarkets in Southeast Asia fell on Tuesday with the Thai index ending at a near two-week low and the Philippines touching a near four-week low after trade data while ... …

  • China breaks ground on lighthouse project in South China Sea

    China hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for the building of two lighthouses in the disputed South China Sea, state media said on Tuesday, a move that is likely to escalate tensions in a region already jittery about Beijing's maritime ambitions. China's Ministry of Transport hosted the ceremony for the construction of two multi-functional lighthouses on Huayang Reef and Chigua Reef on the disputed Spratly islands, state news agency Xinhua said, defying calls from the United States and the …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options