April 13, 2013
The umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan today slammed Department of National Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin for suggesting the possibility of the return of US bases in the country should a US war with North Korea break out.
Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr. called the suggestion “another trial balloon aimed at gauging public opinion on the return of formal US bases.”
“Secretary Voltaire Gazmin is out of line, out of this world and maybe out of his mind when he suggested that a US war with Korea will justify the return of US bases. In the first place, why would we want the Philippines dragged into an armed conflict not of our making and not in our national interest? Why allow the Philippines to be used again as a staging ground for US military intervention in Asia? We were already the staging ground during the Vietnam War and the Gulf War of 1991,” said Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.
“The Cold War relic that is the RP-US Mutual Defense Treaty obliges Philippine support for the US but does not automatically mean US support if the Philippines is attacked. There is a double standard there. We should abandon this antiquated and grossly one-sided pact,” he added.
Bayan said that the return of formal bases would mean a significant “levelling up” of US military presence in the country.
“Even without formal US bases, the US troops are already accorded virtual basing opportunities. This is in stark violation of the Constitution, because the VFA is not supposed to be a basing treaty. This anomaly has been going on for more than a decade now. They call it rotational presence, but in reality, it is a permanent and continuing presence. It is actual basing of troops. It is the actual entry of ships any time of the year to use PH facilities,” Reyes said.
“The DND cites the MDT as the basis of the extended stay of US troops in the Philippines. That’s hogwash. We invite him to re-read the MDT because nowhere in the agreement could you find the words ‘extended stay’. And nowhere in the agreement will you find the words “basing”. The DND is clearly misleading the public,” he added.
Bayan challenged on Malacanang to officially rebuff Gazmin otherwise Palace silence would mean and endorsement of the bases proposal.
“Is Gazmin’s proposal official Malacanang’s policy? Is that where Aquino is headed? The return of formal US bases and the reversal of all the gains in asserting national sovereignty the past 20 years?” Reyes asked
“The DND cannot invoke the prospect of war in justifying the violation of the Constitution. What the DND is doing however is trying to conceal Aquino’s continuing violation of the Constitution, of allowing the permanent and continuing presence of US troops even without a formal basing treaty as required by the Charter,” he added.