Thursday, October 25, 2012

US Military Bases & Assistance Agreements (1947) - Independence with Strings: From U.S. Colony to U.S. Neocolony

"...the role of U.S. overseas bases in the world -bases in the Philippines among them-- is to "act as magnets for enemy attacks, thus dispersing and weakening his threat to our cities and fixed installations." --Hanson W. Baldwin (1903-1991), U.S. Naval Academy Class 1924, N.Y. Times Military Editor, stated in the NY Times Weekly 2/17/57 & 8/18/57 - as quoted by Claro M. Recto

"In time of peace, foreign bases serve as protection for foreign investments within the country where the bases are established." - Claro M. Recto

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Hi All,

Both the U.S-proposed Military Bases and Military Assistance Agreements were railroaded for approval within days after the Philippines amended its Constitution (remember that the U.S. made all payment to the Philippines for WW2 war damages dependent on Filipino acceptance of the Bell Trade Act-1946 (Parity Rights)

These military agreements turned effective control of the Philippine armed forces over to the U.S. since they essentially kept or reestablished the military over-lordship as during the colonial era.

These American bases later became important staging areas for the American War in Vietnam and CIA plots against Indonesia in 1958 and 1965, etc. Other disastrous effects to civilians living near the bases: being shot dead while scavenging for scraps by American soldiers, who claimed they thought they were wild animals/boars, sexual assaults by soldiers (victims never got justice) as most recently highlighted by the Subic Rape Caserise of drug and sex industry, etc.

Currently, we do not see such large facilities/bases; but with the RP-US Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) the presence of American troops in Philippine territory, seemingly for the (unending) Balikatan exercises, is still unconstitutional (Article 18, Section 25, 1987 Constitution). The VFA is the new Pentagon instrument of establishing foreign bases that are small and austere, aka “Lily-Pads” in its jargon.

Despite this knowledge, a few months ago, our senators approved  similar VFA agreement  with Australia. This recent agreement with Australia, I think and believe, is part of the current US military strategy of "multilateralism" via our subservient Philippine rulers.

Most of our current politicians/senators, consistent to many ilks of our political past who were devoid of nationalism, have demonstrated that they also are similar sell-outs and beholden to foreigners, essentially work against our national sovereignty and therefore, to the native citizenry. 

The VFAs are made ostensibly to improve our military capability for "national security" and "disaster relief works."  Under the JUSMAG "training" and tutelage for over 65+ years to the present, are officers of our armed forces still incompetents and incapable to stand on its own?  I doubt so.  It is simply our carry-over of colonial mentality and mendicancy; being beholden to the white race, be they Americans, Australians, Europeans, etc. 

We native Filipinos, our native soldiers, are as good as any soldier of any race, including those of the whites we put on a pedestal. We do not need such advisory presence from any foreign country; who obviously know us native Filipinos more than we know ourselves, and use their understanding to effectively and efficiently exploit our Filipino naïveté and sentimentality.

It is enraging and sad that our fellow native Filipino majority who are mired in generational poverty and thus uninformed; the condition that allows the native bureaucrats, politicians and like-minded officials to make such dealings and perpetuate all the inherent social ills and injustices created, as our history has shown, wherever these foreign troops are.

- Bert

Addendum 12/08/2012: Click to read:

US Military Bases & Military Assistance Agreements (1947) – How Approved (Part 1 of 2)


March 14, 1947 (Key Provisions)

Editors' Introduction (1987): The Military Bases Agreement provided the U.S. with extensive military facilities in the Philippines for a term of 99 years.The two major facilities, Clark Air Base and Subic naval base, were immense facilities. Clark covered 130,000 acres, bigger than the entire island of Grenada; Subic included a whole city -Olongapo- within its jurisdiction. The Agreement prohibited the Philippines from granting base rights to any other country and placed no restrictions on the uses to which the U.S. could put the bases, nor the types of weapons that it could deploy or store there. Finally, the Agreement allowed the U.S. to recruit Filipino volunteers into the U.S> Armed Forces.

Over the years, some of the provisions of the bases agreement have been changed. Some of the extensive base lands have been returned to the Philippine government, including the city of Olongapo, but the bases remain the largest U.S. military facilities outside of the U.S. The term of the Agreement was changed in 1966 to expire in 1991.

In 1959, the Bohlen-Serrano exchange of notes, the U.S. committed itself to consult with the RP before deploying long-range missiles on the bases or using the bases for combat purposes unrelated to mutual defense. The latter provision did not apply to logistic or staging activities nor to U.S. naval forces operating directly from RP.

In any event, however, none of these changes altered the essential use of the bases as springboards for US intervention in Asia. According the US officials in 1972, "nowhere in the world are we able to use our military bases with less restrictions than we do in the Philippines."

Finally, it should be noted that Filipinos continue to be recruited into the US Armed Forces, where they typically serve as servants to top US Navy officers.


Article I: Grant of Bases

  1. The Government of the Republic of the Philippines (hereinafter referred to as the Philippines) grants to the Government of America (hereinafter referred to as the United States) the right to retain the use of the bases in the Philippines listed in Annex A attached hereto.
  2. The Philippines agrees to permit the United States, upon notice to the Philippines, to use such of those bases listed in Annex B as the United States determines to be required by military necessity.
  3. The Philippines agrees to enter into negotiations with the United States at the latter's request, to permit the United States to expand such bases, to exchange such bases for other bases, to acquire additional bases, or relinquish rights to bases, as any of such exigencies may be required by military necessity.

ARTICLE II: Mutual Cooperation

  1. It is mutually agreed that the Armed Forces of the Philippines may serve on the United States bases and that the Armed Forces of the United States may serve on Philippine military establishments whenever such conditions appear beneficial as mutually determined by the armed forces of both countries.

Article III: Description of Rights

It is mutually agreed that that the United States  shall have the rights, power, and authority within the bases which are necessary for the establishment, use, operation and defense thereof or appropriate for the control thereof and all the rights, power and authority within the territorial waters and air space adjacent to, or in the vicinity of, the bases which are necessary to provide access to them, or appropriate for their control.

Such rights, power and authority shall include, inter alia, the right, power and authority:

(a) to construct (including the dredging and filling), operate, maintain, utilize, occupy, garrison and control the bases;

(b) to improve and deepen the harbors, channels, entrances and anchorages, and to construct or maintain necessary roads and bridges affording access to the bases;

(c) to control (including the right to prohibit) in so far as may be required for the efficient operation and safety of the bases, and within the limits of military necessity, anchorages, moorings, landings, takeoffs, movements and operation of ships and waterborne craft, craft and other vehicles on water, in the air or land comprising or in the vicinity of the bases;

(d) the right to acquire, as may be agreed between the two governments, such rights of way, and to construct thereon, as may be required for military purpose, wire and radio communications facilities, including submarine and subterranean cables, pipelines and spur tracks from railroad to bases, and the right, as may be agreed upon between the two governments to construct the necessary facilities;

(e) to construct, install, maintain  and employ on any base any type of facilities, weapons, substance, device, vehicle or vehicle on or under the ground, in the air or on or under the water that may be requisite or appropriate, including meteorological systems, aerial and water navigation lights, radio and rdar apparatus and electronic devices of any desired power, type of emission and frequency.

Article VI. Maneuver and Other Areas

The United states shall, subject to previous agreement with the Philippines, have the right to use land and coastal sea areas of appropriate size and location for periodic maneuvers, for additional staging areas, bombing and gunnery ranges, and for such intermediate airfields as may be required for safe and efficient air operations. Operations in such areas shall be carried on with  due regard and safeguards for the public safety.

Article XIII. Jurisdiction

  1. The Philippines consents that the United States shall have the right to exercise jurisdiction over the following offenses:(a) Any offense committed by any person within any base, except where the offender and the offended parties are both Philippine citizens, not members of the Armed Forces of the United States on active duty or the offense is against the security of the Philippines, and the offender is a Philippine citizen;(b) Any offense committed outside the bases by any member of the Armed Forces of the United States in which the offended party is also a member of the Armed Forces of the United States; and(c) Any offense committed outside the bases by any member of the Armed forces of the United States against the security of the United States.
  2. The Philippines shall have the right to exercise jurisdiction over all other offenses committed outside the bases by any member of the Armed Forces of the United States. Not withstanding the foregoing provisions, it is mutually agreed that in time of war the United States shall have the right to exercise exclusive jurisdiction over any offenses which may be committed by the members of the Armed Forces of the United States in the Philippines.

Article XXIV: Mineral Resources

All minerals (including oil), and antiquities and all rights relating thereto and to treasure trove, upon,or connected with the land and water comprised in the bases or otherwise used or occupied by the United States by virtue of this Agreement, are reserved to the Government and inhabitants of the Philippines; but no rights so reserved shall be transferred to third parties, or exercised within the bases, without the consent of the United States. The United States shall negotiate with the proper Philippine authorities for the quarrying of rock and gravel necessary for construction of the bases.

Article XXV: Grant of Bases to a Third Power
  1. The Philippines agrees that it shall not grant, without prior consent of the United states, any bases or any rights, power, or authority whatsoever, in or relating to bases, to any third power.
  2. It is further agreed that the United states shall not, without the consent of the Philippines, assign, or under-let  or part with the possession of the whole or any part of any base, or of any right, power or authority granted by this Agreement, to any third power.

Article XXVII: Voluntary Enlistment of Philippine Citizens

It is mutually agreed that the United States shall have the right to recruit citizens of the Philippines for voluntary enlistment into the United States Armed Forces for a fixed term of years, and to train them and to exercise the same degree of control and discipline over them as is exercised in the case of either members of the United States Armed forces. The number of such enlistments to be accepted by the Armed Forces of the United states may from time to time be limited by agreement between the two Governments.

Article XXIX: Term of Agreement

The present Agreement shall enter into force upon acceptance by the two Governments and shall remain in force for a period of ninety-nine years subject to extension thereafter as agreed by the two Governments.

Annex "A"
  1. Clark Field Airbase, Pampanga
  2. Fort Stotsenberg, Pampanga
  3. Mariveles Military Reservation, POL Terminal & Training Area, Bataan
  4. Camp John Hay Leave and Recreation Center, Baguio
  5. Army Communications System with the deletion of all stations in the Port of Manila Area
  6. U.S.AF Cemetery No.2, San Francisco, Delmonte, Rizal
  7. Angeles General Depot, Pampanga
  8. Leyte-Samar Naval Base including shore installations and air bases
  9. Subic bay, No.West Shore Naval Base Zambales province and the existing naval reservation at Olongapo and the existing Baguio naval reservation
  10. Tawi Tawi Naval Anchorage and small adjacent land areas
  11. Canacao-Sangley Point Navy Base, Cavite province
  12. Bagobantay Transmitter Area, Quezon city, and associated radio receiving and control sites, Manila area
  13. Tarumpitao point (Loran Master transmitter Station), Palawan
  14. Talamputan Island, C.G. #354 Loran, Palawan
  15. Naule Point (Loran Station, Zambales)
  16. Castillejos, C.G.#356, Zambales

Annex "B"
  1. Mactan Island Army and Navy Airbase
  2. Florida Blanca Airbase, Pampanga
  3. Aircraft Service Warning Net
  4. Camp Wallace, San Fernando, La Union
  5. Puerta Princesa Army and Navy Air Base including Navy Section Base and Air Warning Sites, Palawan
  6. Tawi Tawi Naval Base, Sulu Archipelago
  7. Aparri Naval Air Base

  • A Decade of American Foreign Policy: Basic Documents, 1941-1949, senate Doc. #123, 81st Congress, 1st Session, 1950 
  • THE PHILIPPINES READER, A History of Colonialism, Neocolonialism, Dictatorship, and Resistance, Edited by Daniel B. Schirmer & Stephen Rosskamm Shalom (1987) I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK AND ITS PUBLISHER 
(See/click also: on U.S. Foreign policy by Stephen.R. Shalom)



Editor's Note: The RP-US Military Assistance Agreement (1947) was the sister agreement to the RP-US Military Bases Agreement (1947). It created the Joint U.S. Military Advisory Group (JUSMAG), a contingent of US military advisers permanently deployed in the Philippines and whose work is focused facilitating the logistical & training requirements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines for counter-insurgency/internal warfare. JUSMAG and this Military Assistance Agreement are jointly responsible as to why after more than 40 years of special relations, the Philippines does not yet have an external defense capability. It may be now considered as the sister agreement to the 1999 Visiting Forces Agreement since the RP-US Military Bases Agreement is now defunct.


Considering the desire of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines to obtain assistance in the training and development of its armed forces and the procurement of equipment and supplies therefore during the period immediately following the independence of the Philippines, considering the Agreement between the Republic of the Philippines and the United States of America concerning military bases, signed March 14, 1947, and in view of the mutual interest of the two governments in matters of common defense, the President of the United States of America has authorized the rendering of military assistance to the Republic of the Philippines towards establishing and maintaining national security and towards forming a basis for participation by that Government in such defensive military operations as the future may require, and to attain these ends, the Governments of the Republic of the Philippines and the United States of America have agreed as follows:



ARTICLE 1.- Subject to mutual agreements, the Government of the United States of America will furnish military assistance to the Government of the Republic of the Philippines in the training and development of armed forces and in the performance of other services essential to the fulfillment of those obligations which may devolve upon the Republic of the Philippines under its international agreements including commitments assumed under the United Nations and to the maintenance of the peace and security of the Philippines, as provided in Title II, Article 6, hereof.

ARTICLE 2.- This Agreement shall continue for a period of five years from July 4, 1946 unless previously terminated or extended as hereinafter provided.

ARTICLE 3.- If the Government of the Republic of the Philippines should desire that this Agreement be extended beyond the stipulated period, it shall make a written proposal to that effect at least one year before the expiration of this Agreement.

ARTICLE 4.- This Agreement may be terminated before the expiration of the period of five years prescribed in Article 2, or before the expiration of an extension authorized in Article 3, by either Government, subject to three months' written notice to the other Government.

ARTICLE 5.- It is agreed on the part of the Government of the Philippines that title to all arms, vessels, aircraft, equipment and supplies, expendable items excepted, that are furnished under this Agreement on a non-reimbursable basis shall remain in the United States of America.



ARTICLE 6.- For the purposes of this Agreement the military assistance authorized in Article 1 hereof is defined as the furnishing of arms, ammunition, equipment and supplies; certain aircraft and naval vessels, and instructions and training assistance by the Army and Navy of the United States and shall include the following:

(a) Establishing in the Philippines of a United States Military Advisory Group composed of an Army group, a Navy group and an Air group to assist and advise the Republic of the Philippines on military and naval matters;

(b) Furnishing from the United States sources equipment and technical supplies for training, operations and certain maintenance of Philippines armed forces of such strength and composition as mutually agreed upon;

(c) Facilitating the procurement by the Government of the Republic of the Philippines of a military reserve of United States equipment and supplies, in such amounts as may be subsequently agreed upon;

(d) Making available selected facilities of United States Army and Navy training establishments to provide training for key personnel of the Philippine armed forces, under the conditions hereinafter described.



ARTICLE 7.- The Military Advisory Group shall consist of such number of United States military personnel as may be agreed upon by the Governments of the Republic of the Philippines and the United States of America.

ARTICLE 8.- The functions of the Military Advisory Group shall be to provide such advice and assistance to the Republic of the Philippines as has been authorized by the Congress of the United States of America and as is necessary to accomplish the purposes set forth in Article 1 of this Agreement.

ARTICLE 9.- Each member of the Military Advisory Group shall continue as a member of the branch of the armed forces of the United States to which he belongs and serve with that group in the rank, grade or rating he holds in the armed forces of the United States and shall wear the uniform thereof, as provided in current regulations. Officers and enlisted men so detailed are authorized to accept from the Government of the Republic of the Philippines offices and such pay and emoluments thereunto appertaining as may be offered by that Government and approved by the appropriate authorities of the United States, such compensation to be accepted by the United States government for remittance to the individual if in the opinion of the appropriate authorities of the United States such course appears desirable.

ARTICLE 10.- Members of the Military Advisory Group shall serve under the direction of the authorities of the United States of America.

ARTICLE 11.- All members of the Group shall be on active duty and shall be paid regularly authorized pay and allowances by the Government of the United States of America, plus a special allowance to compensate for increased cost of living. This special allowance shall be based upon a scale agreed upon by the Governments of the Republic of the Philippines and the United States of America and shall be revised periodically. The Government of the Republic of the Philippines shall reimburse the Government of the United States of America for the special allowance provided for in this Article. The special article shall be applicable for the entire period each member of the group resides in the Philippines on duty with the Group, except as specified elsewhere in this Agreement.

ARTICLE 12.- The Government of the Republic of the Philippines agrees to extend to the Military Advisory Group the same exemptions and privileges granted by Article V, XII, and XVIII of the Agreement Between the Republic of the Philippines and the United States of America Concerning Military Bases, signed March 14, 1947.

ARTICLE 13.- Except as may be otherwise agreed upon by the two Governments, the expense of the cost of transportation of each member of the Military Advisory Group, his dependents, household effects, and belongings to and from the Philippines shall be borne by the Government of the United States of America to the extent authorized by law. Members of the Group shall be entitled to compensation for expenses incurred in travel in the Republic of the Philippines on official business of the Group and such expenses shall be reimbursed to the Republic of the Philippines except for expenses of travel by the transportation facilities of the Group.

ARTICLE 14.- The Government of the Republic of the Philippines shall provide, and defray the cost of, suitable living quarters for personnel of the Military Advisory Group and their families and suitable buildings and office space for use in the conduct of official business of the Military Advisory Group. All living and office quarters shall conform to the standards prescribed by the United States military services for similar quarters. Official supplies and equipment of American manufacture shall be provided without cost by the Government of the Republic of the Philippines. Official supplies and equipment of other than, American manufacture, shall be provided without cost by the Government of the Republic of the Philippines. The cost of all services required by the Group, including compensation of locally employed interpreters, clerks, laborers, and other personnel, except personal servants, shall be borne by the Government of the Republic of the Philippines. 
ARTICLE 15.- All communications between the Military Advisory Group and the Republic of the Philippines involving matters of policy shall be through the Ambassador of the United States of America to the Philippines or the Charge d' Affaires.


(a) The provisions of Articles XIII and XXI of the Agreement of March 14, 1947 between the Republic of the Philippines and the United States of America Concerning Military Bases are applicable to the Military Advisory Group, it being agreed that the Headquarters of the Military Advisory Group will be considered a temporary installation under the provisions of Article XXI of the Agreement aforementioned.

(b) The Chief of the Military Advisory Group, and not to exceed six (6) other senior members of the group to be designated by him, will be accorded diplomatic immunity.



ARTICLE 17.- The decision as to what supplies, services, facilities, equipment and naval vessels are necessary for military assistance shall be made by agreement between the appropriate authorities of the Republic of the Philippines and the United States.

ARTICLE 18.- Certain initial equipment, supplies and maintenance items shall be furnished gratuitously by the United States in accordance with detailed arrangements to be mutually agreed upon. Additional equipment and supplies other than those surplus to the needs of the United States required in the furtherance of military assistance shall be furnished by the United States subject to reimbursement by the Republic of the Philippines on terms to be mutually agreed upon. All items of arms, munitions, equipment and supplies originating from sources other than those surplus to the needs of the United States shall be furnished only when the requisite funds have been specifically appropriated by the Congress of the United States.

ARTICLE 19.- The Government of the Republic of the Philippines agrees that it will not relinquish physical possession or pass the title to any and all arms, munitions, equipment, supplies, naval vessels and aircraft furnished under this Agreement without the specific consent of the Government of the United States.

ARTICLE 20.- Military equipment, supplies, and naval vessels necessary in connection with the carrying out of the full program of military assistance to the Republic of the Philippines shall be provided from Philippine and United States sources in so far as practicable and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines shall procure arms, ammunitions, military equipment and naval vessels from governments or agencies other than the United States of America only on the basis of mutual agreement between the Government of the United States of America. The Government of the Republic of the Philippines shall procure United States military equipment, supplies and naval vessels only as mutually agreed upon.



ARTICLE 21.- As part of the program of military assistance the Government of the Republic of the Philippines shall be permitted to send selected students to designated technical and service schools of the ground, naval and air services of the United States. Such students shall be subject to the same regulations as are United States students and may be returned to the Philippines without substitution, for violation of such regulations. Numbers of students and detailed arrangements shall be mutually agreed upon and shall be kept at a minimum for essential requirements. All Philippine requests for military training of Filipino personnel shall be made to the Government of the United States through the Military Advisory Group.


ARTICLE 22.- Disclosures and exchanges of classified military equipment and information of any security classification to or between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Government of the United States of America will be with the mutual understanding that the equipment and information will be safeguarded in accordance with the requirements of the military security classification established thereon by the originating Government and that no re-disclosure by the recipient Government of such equipment and information to their governments or unauthorized personnel will be made without specific approval of the originating Government.

ARTICLE 23.- So long as this Agreement, or any extension thereof, is in effect the Government of the Republic of the Philippines shall not engage or accept the services of any personnel of any Government other than the United States of America for duties of any nature connected with the Philippine armed forces, except by mutual agreement between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Government of the United States of America.


IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the Undersigned, duly authorized thereto, have signed this Agreement in duplicate, in the City of Manila, this twenty-first day of March, 1947.

For the Government of the Republic of the Philippines:

President of the Philippines

For the Government of the United States of America:

Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of the Philippines


 “Colonies do not cease to be colonies because they are independent” – Benjamin Disraeli, British Prime Minister (1804-1881)

“A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Comparative facts about scavenging at military sites (within the U.S.):

VFA in the Philippines


Removing Restrictions On Foreign Troops On Cha-Cha Agenda: Troops From 12 Countries Set To Enter RP

The administration appears set to allow unspecified numbers of foreign military personnel into the country in early May 2009 for "disaster relief training exercises" despite the absence of treaties giving this legal basis as required by the Constitution.

20 April 2009

IBON Features - This disregard for the charter's restriction on the presence of foreign troops and facilities in the country clearly shows that removing this is on the administration's Charter change (Cha-cha) agenda.
The United States (US) and the Philippines will co-sponsor the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) Voluntary Demonstration of Response (VDR) to be held in Central Luzon on May 4-8. The ASEAN Secretariat reports that the activity is a "civilian-led, military supported" disaster relief training exercise with 12 countries "[providing] assets, personnel, and capabilities": US, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Indonesia, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Mongolia, Sri Lanka, Papua New Guinea, European Union and the Philippines. At least eight other countries will participate as observers.
The ARF, which was launched in 2004, is projected as the "premier regional political and security forum in the Asia-Pacific region". The ARF has the "war on terror" on its broad political and security agenda, and also includes so-called transnational crimes, disarmament of nuclear and weapons of mass destruction, etc. In line with US military doctrines and practice, disaster relief training such as in the ARF VDR is among the pretexts for advancing such security agenda.
The real intent of the VDR as pushed by the US Pacific Command (PACOM) and the Philippine government since early 2008 is a multinational/regional military exercise to improve interoperability among ARF nation militaries under the de facto leadership of the US. The ARF is seen to fulfill the strategic objectives of the US in Southeast Asia, which are to maintain its hegemony and prevent being excluded from the region by the big East Asian powers (i.e. Japan or China) or by any significant grouping of smaller countries, to preserve free access to major sea lanes in the region, and to expand trade and investment opportunities in Asian countries.
However that kind of overtly multi-country military exercise is prevented by the Philippines not having Visiting Forces Agreements (VFAs) with any other country aside from the US. Talks are still just on-going with Australia and Brunei for such pacts. But even the US-RP VFA has been criticized for, among other things, not yet having been ratified by the US Senate as required by Article XVIII, Section 25 of the Constitution.
Since the fundamentally political and security agenda of the ARF VDR will not be advanced by a genuinely civilian activity, the participation of foreign militaries will still be significant.
The VDR will include demonstrations of land, air and maritime search and rescue, medical assistance/evacuation, engineering reconstruction and public relations civil-military projects. It is likely that foreign military personnel and resources will be used for air lifts, sea lifts, and medical/dental missions. Subic Bay and the former Clark airbase in particular could be used as important exercise hubs by military vessels and aircraft.
Even if downplayed any such foreign military presence is however unconstitutional. The government is certainly fully aware of this because it has since 2008 been holding numerous inter-agency meetings to try and find ways around the constitutional prohibition. The government should then be categorical that there will be no foreign troops participating in the exercises in any way that would violate the Constitutional prohibition on their presence without the required treaties.
The planned entry of foreign troops shows that the Arroyo administration's Cha-cha agenda is turning the Philippines into a country that does not only plead for foreign investments and employment abroad but also for military protection from other nations, particularly the US. This is even if the country has no known or declared enemies, unlike the US and the presence of whose troops in the country only increases the possibility of participation in wars not of our choosing and indeed of retaliation. All in all, the Cha-cha agenda further destroys the country's sovereignty and our capacity to economically and politically stand for ourselves. 
Source: IBON Features, 


ADDENDUM:   In the words of the anonymous DOD official, the legal consequence of the basing agreement is that "when we depart, we don't have to clean up."

The Multinational Monitor


A Toxic Legacy

"We don't shoot birds and we don't chop down trees. There's no environmental problem here."

That's how Captain A.B. Ballesteros of the Philippine Air Force responds when asked about environmental problems at Clark Air Base, the former U.S.-operated military base now maintained by the Philippine Air Force.

Unfortunately, the environmental situation at Clark and at the nearby Subic Bay Naval Facility, also formerly operated by the U.S. military, is much more complicated than Capt. Ballesteros - or, more importantly, the U.S. military- would like to acknowledge.

For the 45 years after World War II, Subic and Clark were the vortex from which the United States projected its military power in the Pacific region. Following the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo and the Philippine Senate's rejection of a base-treaty extension, the United States withdrew from Clark in 1991 and Subic in 1992.

The base operations were massive in scope, housing not just soldiers but ship repair facilities, runways, landfills, supply depots, power plants and underground oil pipelines. Operations at the bases used a wide range of toxic substances and generated an equally broad array of hazardous wastes: unexploded ordnance, PCBs, asbestos, cyanide and lead and other dangerous heavy metals among them, according to studies conducted by the World Health Organization and the U.S. General Accounting Office.

The Philippine and U.S. regulatory authorities left the U.S. Navy and Air Force with wide latitude in dealing with pollution and hazardous waste disposal. U.S. service regulations require overseas bases to adhere to host country environmental regulations - as they are applied. Since Philippine enforcement of its environmental laws is lax, the standard governing the bases was lax. Some U.S. military regulations require more stringent environmental measures, but they are only internal guidelines, regularly ignored even at domestic bases.

Exactly how severely the U.S. Navy and Air Force abused their largely unchecked power to degrade the environment is unclear. Only U.S. military officials have a real understanding of the extent of the toxics problem at the bases, and they are not telling.

Some U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) officials go so far as to deny that a toxic legacy remains at the bases. Asked whether he acknowledges that hazardous wastes were left behind, one DOD official who requested anonymity answers, "I don't think so." Conclusions like those of the GAO, he asserts, are merely surmisals based on the assumption that major military and industrial complexes like Subic and Clark must have generated wastes.

The DOD has stonewalled requests for information-although the DOD official claims that "We have made a good faith effort to turn over everything that bore on the issue." In 1992, the Department of the Navy stated in response to a Freedom of Information Act request that it had 80,000 documents, over 30 boxes, relating to "toxic substances, hazardous wastes and other contamination" at Subic alone. However, according to Polly Parks of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, the U.S. organization most actively pressing on the Philippine base environmental issue, when the DOD provided information on Subic to the Philippine government in November 1993, it turned over only four binders.

While the extent of the problem is unknown, it is clear that the toxics have seriously endangered the surrounding communities:
  • When the United States pulled out of the bases, poor Filipinos in the neighboring area were allowed to sort through base landfills; among the prize scraps were steel drums, many of which contained hazardous wastes. Those barrels are now being used throughout nearby communities to catch and store water and for other purposes.
  • Refugees displaced by the Mt. Pinatubo lava and ash flows are now living in Clark Air Base, and some are farming there. Some of the farmers are growing rice in former sewage treatment ponds.
  • Some former base workers have reported that they were involved in or aware of the improper disposal of hazardous wastes. One former base worker, for example, told CNN that drums of cyanide were buried at Subic - and, he believes, never removed.
  • Because the areas surrounding the bases are densely populated by poor families, pollution of area groundwater supplies with dangerous chemical solvents, pesticides or other toxics poses major, long-term risks to a large population.
  • The contaminants also pose risks to future workers at the bases themselves. The Philippine government plans to convert Subic to an industrial and tourist zone, and Clark into an international airport or industrial zone; workers in these new operations will have no way to know about or protect themselves from hidden hazards left over from U.S. military operations.
The Philippines is utterly without the resources to identify the hazards at Subic and Clark, let alone clean up the bases.

If further public health and ecological damage is to be averted, the United States must accept responsibility for the mess it created - a step it has so far been unwilling to take.

The DOD justifies its refusal to accept responsibility for its actions by pointing to the governing 1947 basing agreement, which specifies that the United States was not obligated to return the bases in their original condition. In the words of the anonymous DOD official, the legal consequence of the basing agreement is that "when we depart, we don't have to clean up."

And the DOD simply dismisses the claim that it has an extralegal obligation to help clean up the mess it made. Asked whether the DOD had an ethical responsibility to clean up the bases, the DOD official says, "I am not an ethics adviser. ... Maybe you can check with a religious leader."

But the United States does have an obligation - to the truth and to the Filipino people - to acknowledge its toxic legacy and ensure that it is handled properly. The DOD should turn over all relevant information to the Philippines, and provide technical assistance, technology and financing, so that Filipinos can properly assess the toxic threat they now must face and take appropriate clean-up actions.


I highly recommend this book!!

*****************************END OF POST*************************

Hi All,

The below link will show a short list of my past posts (out of 540 posts so far) which I consider as basic topics about us native (indio)/ Malay Filipinos. This link/listing, which may later expand, will always be presented at the bottom of each future post.  Just point-and-click at each listed item to open and read. 

Thank you for reading and sharing with others, especially those in our homeland.

- Bert


  1. THE FILIPINO MIND blog contains 532 published postings you can view, as of December 12, 2012. 
  2. The postings are oftentimes long and a few readers have claimed being "burnt out."  My apologies. The selected topics are not for entertainment but to stimulate deep, serious thoughts per my MISSION Statement and hopefully to rock our boat of  ignorance, apathy, complacency and hopefully lead to active citizenship.
  3. All comments are welcomed for posting at the bottom window. Comments sent by email will also be posted verbatim. However, ANONYMOUS COMMENTS WILL BE IGNORED.
  4. Visit my other website, click --> SCRIBD/TheFilipinoMind, or the SCRIB FEED at the sidebar, or type it on GOOGLE Search to read or download ebooks and PDFs of essays I have uploaded.  Statistics for my associated website:SCRIBD/theFilipinoMind : ALL FREE AND DOWNLOADABLE: 123 documents, 207,458 reads
  5. Some postings and other relevant events are now featured in Google+BMD_FacebookBMD_Twitter and BMD_Google Buzz and Google+.
  6. Translate to your own language. Go to the sidebar and Click on GOOGLE TRANSLATOR (56 languages - copy and paste sentences, paragraphs and whole articles, Google translates a whole posting in seconds, including to Filipino!!).
  7. Forwarding the posts to relatives and friends, ESPECIALLY in the homeland, is greatly appreciated. Use emails, Twitter, Google+, Facebook, etc. THANK YOU !!!
  8. Songs on Filipino nationalism: please reflect on the lyrics (messages) as well as the beautiful renditions. Other Filipino Music links at blog sidebar.  Click each to play.:


Noy said...

"We native Filipinos, our native soldiers, are as good as any soldier of any race, including those of the whites we put on a pedestal. We do not need such advisory presence from any foreign country; who obviously know us Filipinos more than we know ourselves, and thus effectively and efficiently exploit our Filipino naïveté and sentimentality."

My response - How about those Philippine military officers who were paid by commander robot from the ransom money at the time when they were being cornered? Our military still needs US guidance to mold our soldiers to become a true responsible and patriotic filipino soldiers.


Vic D. Mercado said...

Hi Bert and beloved kababayan,

I just wonder if we're just wasting our time discussing ancient history!

Why don't we concentrate and find out how
we could assist or contribute with the progress of our beloved country. the Republic of the Philippines.


Bert M. Drona said...

Hello Vic,

Thanks for the comment re wasting time on "ancient history." You're not the first or be the last to send similar comments, which I have expected from Day 1 of my blogging.

If you read my Mission statement at the top of the blog, you will know and understand why I keep on ranting about our homeland's past. The past defines the present; if the past is not well-known and understood, the present can not be fixed, effectively and efficiently.

I do not know your age and background or profession (I am a chemical engineer) ; for a simple analogy: an engineering or medical, etc. or scientific approach to any problem-solving involves studying the past/history of the problem to formulate the best or most appropriate solution(s).

And since our past has been mostly bad (and now actually ever-worsening), our present is a "continuing past," to borrow the late Prof. Renato Constantino's phrase. Or as Jose Rizal's opened his essay 'A Century Hence:' ..." In order to read the destiny of a people, it is necessary to open the book of its past."

As to a solution(s), in fact since the 1950s solutions have been proposed for our national socio-economic/political problems; actually a good one by an American, i.e. Hardie Report (1952), do you know what happened? I hope you know your Philippine history.

I have addressed your comment in past posts and do not want to repeat here. If still interested please check out this URL:

Unknown said...

Your information was really thoughtful.The online information system and website is such a relief that now fair and reliable sourced information can be found through military bases in the us. What d you think?