PH turning into a US military base, lawmaker warns | Inquirer News

PH turning into a US military base, lawmaker warns

/ 05:20 AM July 11, 2023

PH turning into a US military base, lawmaker warns

An AC-130J Ghostrider aircraft parked at the Subic Bay International Airport. Flying above it is a CH-53 helicopter. Both are US military hardware/assets brought to the Philippines for Balikatan 2023. (Photo by LYN RILLON / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines is turning into an American military base with the recent “covert” flights of US military planes to different parts of the country.

House Deputy Minority Leader France Castro,  a Makabayan block party-list lawmaker, made this warning on Monday as she pushed for a congressional investigation of the flights made without coordination with Philippine aviation authorities.


Castro urged the House of Representatives to prioritize the probe and take steps to safeguard the country’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.


“We must thoroughly examine the nature and purpose of these flights and the potential consequences they may have on our national security and sovereignty. It is imperative that we take immediate action to protect our country’s interests,” she said.

In a statement on Monday, Castro said the “covert” flights of the US military aircraft were “deeply troubling” as these were conducted without the knowledge of local aviation authorities.

“It is clear that the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement and the Visiting Forces Agreement have turned the entire Philippines into a de facto US military base, compromising our national sovereignty,” she added.

The lawmaker also warned that the recent flights of US military aircraft here might be a factor in the increasing presence of Chinese maritime vessels in the West Philippine Sea.

US military base in PH ‘Exacerbates tensions’

“It is possible that these flights are serving as a catalyst for China’s assertiveness in the area. The continued presence of US military forces in our country only exacerbates tensions and compromises our ability to assert our own sovereignty,” Castro said.

She stressed that Congress “cannot allow our nation to be used as a pawn in geopolitical power struggles.”


“It is our duty as representatives of the Filipino people to ensure that our country’s interests are protected,” Castro added.

The party list lawmaker made the remarks after Sen. Imee Marcos called on the government to likewise monitor the entry of US aircraft and Chinese vessels into the country’s territory.

Marcos, chair of the Senate foreign relations panel, earlier questioned the recent presence of C-17 Globemasters aircraft of the US Air Force in Manila and Palawan without coordinating with airport authorities.

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On Sunday, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s sister noted that “too little is known about ongoing US military activity in our territory while we constantly call out the presence of Chinese vessels in the South China Sea.”


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