June 26, 2012
The umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan today decried the entry of another United States nuclear attack submarine in the Philippines through a “routine port call”. The USS Louisville docked in Subic yesterday according to the US embassy in Manila. According to the US embassy, the ship will resupply and its crew will be out on rest and recreation.
“The port calls by US warships are becoming more common now that the US is rebalancing their forces towards Asia. Over the next few years, 60% of US ships will be positioned in Asia. The US treats the Philippines as its military outpost, a virtual base where its warships can just go in and out any time, under the catchphrase ‘routine port call’. This is another violation of our sovereignty that needs to be stopped,” said Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.
“In particular, the Senate should investigate the presence of a US defense contractor in Subic which provides repairs and other logistics services for US ships. The biggest builder of US nuclear warships is now operating in Subic. The US company AMSEC-Huntington Ingalls has entered into a partnership with Hanjin in Subic to service an increasing number of US warships. It’s like the bases are back but under different terms and under private management,” Reyes added.
The group said that the presence of a private defense contractor in Subic is “slowly transforming the civilian facility back into a US military hub.”
Bayan slammed both the US and Philippine governments for misleading the public by making it appear that the entry of US ships is “routine” and therefore nothing out of the ordinary.
“Can anyone from Malacanang or the Department of Foreign Affairs tell us what these routine port calls are? What are the, protocols, terms of reference and under what agreements are these allowed? The Palace is making it appear that these nuclear warships, presumably armed with weapons of mass destruction, are just normal fixtures in Subic. Malacanang wants us to get used to them,” Reyes said.
The group said that the “rebalancing of US troops towards Asia should spur the PH government to at least review its position on the Visiting Forces Agreement.”
“The US will use the VFA to get a more permanent and expanded foothold on PH territory. They will use military exercises, port calls and rotational deployment to make sure that they will never leave the Philippines. This is clearly in violation of our sovereignty. The permanent presence of foreign troops on PH soil is proof that we are not truly free,” Reyes said.
“The Aquino government promised to review the VFA two years ago, especially provisions on criminal jurisdiction and custody for erring US troops. Nothing has come out of that. It was all a sham. Aquino even welcomed US rebalancing towards Asia despite many outstanding problems with the VFA. He thinks that by kowtowing to US dictates, the AFP will modernize. That’s simply a mendicant and colonial mindset,” he added. ###