The return of the US military bases in this country is a continuation of Washington’s promises it made made long before we gained our independence.
It is the worst kind of promise for it insulted our dignity as a sovereign and independent state.
Perhaps, we are the only country that ate what we have regurgitated and are proud to proclaim that we the did the right thing to proclaim our freedom and democracy.
The incumbent president is a complete frustration to the majority of the Filipino people.
BBM is rather acting contrary to the expectation of many who cast their votes for him.
Most important, he forgot that the great majority of the Filipino people already expressed their sentiment against the presence of foreign military bases in the country, and ratified it in the referendum on February 11, 1987, to quote Section 25, Article XVIII:
“Sec. 25. After the expiration in 1991 of the Agreement between the Republic of the Philippines and the United States of America concerning Military Bases, foreign military bases, troops or facilities shall not be allowed in the Philippines except under a treaty duly concurred in by the Senate and, when the Congress so requires, ratified by a majority of the votes cast by the people in a national referendum held for that purpose, and recognized as a treaty by the other contracting State.”
The word “expiration” in 1991 in Section 25, Article XVIII refers to the Marcos-Johnson Communique issued during the visit of the President in 1965 to Washington, that the presence of the US bases in the country would be for twenty five (25) years from issuance of the Communique’.
The country’s commitment to ban the nuclear weapons bolstered the provision of the Constitution which states in Article II, Section 8, to quote:
“Sec. 9. The Philippines, consistent with the national interest, adopts and pursues a policy of freedom from nuclear weapons in its territory.”
The groundwork of the establishment of the future Southeast Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (SEANWFZ) was signed on November 27, 1971, when the five original members of the ASEAN—Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand—met in Kuala Lumpur, and signed the declaration on ASEAN’s Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality (ZOPFAN).
Because of tense political atmosphere, including rivalries among the members and conflicts in the region, the SEANWFZ agreement was signed.
The treaty was finally signed by the heads of government of 10 ASEAN member states in Bangkok on December 15, 1995, and the treaty took effect on March 28, 1997 and became effective on June 21, 2001.
To prove the country’s sincerity to its objective as founding member of the ASEAN, the Philippines signed the ASEAN’s Zone of Peace; that as member, it obligates itself not to develop, manufacture or otherwise acquire, possess or have control over nuclear weapons.
The treaty includes a protocol under which the five nuclear-weapon states recognized by the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT)—China, the United States, France, Russia and the United Kingdom—undertake to respect the Treaty and not contribute to violate it.
The Philippines under the Constitution is required to have an agreement that will prohibit, install or grant foreign military bases in the country unless ratified by the Senate and the people.
The US has induced the Philippines to violate our Constitution just to accommodate the return of the US bases.
The US made the Philippines a laughing stock in the region for this is the only country that ordered the removal of the US bases only to ask for their return after 30 years.
Our membership in the ASEAN is now questionable because we violated our own declaration not to allow any US bases in this country but are even seeking to increase their number including the return of the US naval base that allowed the proliferation of prostitution and the commission of crimes with US servicemen often getting away with it.
This single issue of jurisdiction was fought tooth and nail by the former Marcos administration during his time with his son giving them away with open arms to our former colonizers the remaining symbol of our sovereignty.
The excuse made is to secure the country against Chinese aggression.
They introduced novel ideas like allowing the bases to be leased, used as training ground from countries like Japan, India, Australia, South Korea, New Zealand, Canada, and UK, and build facilities and warehouses for them.
First, the lease strictly is in derogation of our sovereignty as independent state.
The foreign military bases cannot be leased, used as training ground or build facilities or warehouse to a third party not a signatory to a defense agreement treaty approved by Congress.
Second, a tenant state cannot allow any country to lease or sublease those bases without impinging on the lessor’s right to sovereignty and independence.
Third, the status of a lessor state does not automatically make that country an ally and/or obligated to defend the country renting those areas as military base.
Fourth, the country must first and foremost enter into a defense treaty to formalize the arrangement.
Fifth, the Philippines made a unilateral commitment to adopt a one-China policy when it opened diplomatic relations with China in 1975, which document was patterned after the declaration stated by the US in the Shanghai Communique in 1975, to quote in gist: “x x x The United States acknowledges that all Chinese on either side of the Taiwan Strait maintain there is but one China and that Taiwan is a part of China. The United States Government does not challenge that position.”
Sixth, the US cannot proceed to interpret EDCA to include new and separate defense agreement with the Philippines.
In substance, we cannot sublease or subcontract our defense agreement to Taiwan or to Japan, Australia or to any country without entering into a defense agreement with those countries.
Seventh, we cannot collaterally join any defense alliance agreement with other countries without the benefit of entering into a formal defense agreement with them and ratified by our Congress, and reciprocally by them.
Moreover, the Philippines has no treaty obligation to defend Taiwan.
The only treaty obligation we have is with the US which was signed under the Mutual Defense Agreement in 1948, the joint military assistance agreement, and the US military bases agreement.
We purposely blurred our intention in the South China Sea to keep alive the tension in the area.
It is inconceivable for the US to leapfrog the Pacific Ocean just to come to the rescue of its former colony from what it perceived as a threat of China invasion of Taiwan except to secure the sale of military arms and keeping the sale of arms viable to countries peripheral to the South China Sea.
Geopolitical analysts doubt much whether the US can militarily defend Taiwan in the event of invasion.
It is even doubtful whether the US naval force stationed in the Philippines, guarding the Taiwan Strait can withstand the blitz of attack in the event of war with China or even contain China from overrunning South China Sea.
These are suppositions for the US defense planners to make a big profit before the big ship finally sails in the Pacific Ocean.
The US can never defend the Philippines as envisioned by Ambassador Romualdez like inducing the country to buy more arms just to keep alive the sale of the US arms industries.