Militant group Bayan warns of US military bases revivalBy Matikas Santos
MANILA, Philippines – The recent visits of high-level officials from the Unites States military have alarmed the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan as it warned of a possible revival of the American bases in the Philippines.
“The real intention of these high-level visits, including the most recent one by the chief of the US Pacific Command, is to make arrangements for the rebalancing of US troops towards Asia,” Renato Reyes Jr, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) Secretary General, said in a statement.
Admiral Samuel Locklear III, who became Commander of US Pacific Command last March, met with top government officials Monday, including President Benigno Aquino III and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff General Jessie Dellosa.
“The US plans to bring 60 percent of their warships to the region in the next ten years. The US also wants to make full use of their former bases in Subic and Clark. The US also plans on maintaining a rotational force in the Philippines, permanently based and in direct violation of the PH Constitution,” Reyes said.
General Martin Dempsey, the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman, also visited the country last June to meet with defense officials.
Defense Undersecretary for defense affairs Honorio Azcueta had told reporters after his meeting with Dempsey that US troops could come to their former bases as long as there was coordination with the Philippine government.
AFP Spokesman, Colonel Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos said in a press briefing Tuesday that these visits from top US military officials was “a reaffirmation of our long standing defense ties and security partnership with the US Armed Forces.”
“This is also very significant because it manifests that they see us an important significant ally,” Burgos said.
Locklear said in a statement released by the US Embassy that “the United States has a multi-faceted and enduring partnership with the Philippines based on respect for Philippine sovereignty and admiration of Philippine democracy.”
“My visit to Manila is an important part of building relationships with Asian Pacific nations, as the United States renews and reinvigorates its engagement with this region,” he said.
Bayan said that the US was using the current territorial dispute between China and the Philippines to justify increasing US military presence in the region.
Reyes said that the US will not help the country in its disputes with China because “the US has far greater economic interests at stake in China than in the territorial dispute involving the Philippines.”
“Make no mistake, the US is only after its own interests. US and PH interests are not one and the same.”