Today it was reported that the US is seeking additional access to another 4-5 facilities in the Philippines under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement. This time, the US in invoking tension in Taiwan as one of the considerations for its need for additional access. This will bring the number of US bases to at least 9.
Filipinos must not allow our country to be used as staging ground for any US military intervention in the region. The US is engaged in provocations with China using the issue of Taiwan. Allowing US use of our facilities will drag us into this conflict which is not aligned with our national interests.
The US has been given tremendous advantages under the EDCA. It can set up military facilities inside Philippine facilities, rent-free and tax-exempt. It can have access to any area in the country, making the Philippines a de facto base for US troops. Under the EDCA, the US can preposition weapons of mass destruction in the Philippines as we have no say what goes in and out of these US facilities. The EDCA is a great reversal of the gains won in the historic Senate rejection of the US bases treaty of 1991. This is a huge leap backwards for Philippine sovereignty.
We must not be fooled by American double-talk which claims to side with the Philippines in the issue of the West Philippine Sea. Despite the Mutual Defense Treaty and the Visiting Forces Agreement, the US did not stop China from its aggressive acts in the West Philippine Sea. Yet the US keeps promising that their presence here helps our cause. The matter of asserting Philippine sovereignty and sovereign rights rests with the Filipinos, not any foreign power. It would be foolish to believe that the US, with its own geopolitical interests, is here to help us in asserting our sovereignty.
The Senate should investigate the so-called agreed locations with the US. Remember that the EDCA was made out to be a mere executive agreement, not a treaty ratified by the Senate, and in clear contravention of Philippine Constitutional requirements. We call on the communities where these bases will be set up, to object to foreign militarization and intervention.