Author Topic: US bases rejected in the Philippines  (Read 486 times)

adroth

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US bases rejected in the Philippines
« on: May 28, 2018, 06:34:23 PM »
U.S. BASE REJECTED IN PHILIPPINES
By Don Oberdorfer
September 10, 1991

https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1991/09/10/us-base-rejected-in-philippines/d580e52d-5060-4cf8-9443-48e689593149/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.a432729a9114

The Bush administration said yesterday it is prepared to abandon the big U.S. naval base in the Philippines rather than offer new concessions to reverse a preliminary vote in the Philippine senate to shut it down.

Washington officials said the end may be near for the nearly century-long U.S. military presence in the strategic islands, and a crisis at hand for U.S.-Philippine relations.

"We've made our best offer," President Bush said several hours after the 12 to 11 Philippine Senate vote against continuing U.S. use of Subic Bay Naval Base, previously considered one of the most important U.S. overseas facilities. "There will be no change on the part of United States," Bush added.

Secretary of Defense Richard B. Cheney called the vote in Manila "extremely unfortunate" and "a real tragedy for the Philippines," but said in an early morning interview with Cable News Network that if the base accord is terminated, "We'll pack up and leave, that's it."

Behind the stiff U.S. attitude toward the news from Manila was a greatly diminished military requirement for the base in view of the end of the Cold War and the disintegration of the Soviet Union, and the belief that shock treatment rather than offers of increased U.S. aid was the only hope for a reversal of yesterday's vote.

The accord worked out this summer after years of negotiations would permit the United States to retain use of Subic for a minimum of 10 years in return for at least $203 million yearly, plus millions more in potential additional benefits not specified in the pact.

Ratification requires approval by two-thirds, or 16 members, of the 23-member Senate. The vote in Manila yesterday took place as the Senate was formed as a committee, and thus was not final. The tally indicated, however, that major shifts in position would be necessary to approve the pact.

Some administration officials expressed the view that the Senate will reverse course when it realizes that the Americans actually are going to leave and U.S. military aid will cease. President Corazon Aquino is planning a massive pro-base rally to mobilize public opinion, a majority of which is believed to favor continuation of the bases agreement.

The predominant reaction here, however, was that a reversal of the senate position was unlikely in the short run, and that the long run may be too late to head off the dismantling of the big U.S. naval base. Earlier this summer Clark Air Base north of Manila, the largest U.S. military base overseas, was ordered closed because of the devastation caused by the eruption of nearby Mount Pinatubo and the prospect that the volcano could continue to erupt.

Since Commodore George Dewey sailed into Manila Bay to vanquish the occupying Spanish fleet in 1898, a military position in the Philippines has been important to U.S. power in the Pacific.

The U.S. occupation was loosened in the 1930s, and the Philippines was given full independence in 1946 after Filipinos and Americans fought together against the Japanese in World War II. The big U.S. bases remained under a series of negotiated accords between Washington and Manila, but they became increasingly unpopular with Filipino nationalists who saw them as symbols of colonialism, dependency and victimization.

"For all practical purposes the treaty is defeated," said Senate President Jovito Salonga, an outspoken opponent of the accord, according to the Associated Press. "This is the final act -- the entombment of the father image of America in this country," said Aquilino Pimentel, who also voted against the agreement.

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Sen. Richard G. Lugar (R-Ind.), a leading advocate of aid to the Philippines since the 1986 "people power" revolution that ousted President Ferdinand Marcos and brought Aquino to power, said rejection of the bases agreement would be "a historic tragedy" for the Philippines, with serious repercussions in congressional and public opinion in this country. Lugar said "a good number of other countries are eyeing the money that would be freed up" if the United States no longer is committed to supply base-related aid to Manila.

< Edited >

adroth

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Re: US bases rejected in the Philippines
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2018, 06:58:15 PM »
From: https://www.britannica.com/place/Philippines/The-early-republic#ref387410

< Edited >

The Military Bases Agreement was the greatest single cause of friction in relations between the United States and the Philippines. Beginning in 1965, however, a series of agreements between the two countries reduced the size and number of the U.S. bases and shortened base leases. In 1979 formal jurisdiction over the base areas passed to the Philippine government; and the constitution of 1987 formalized the process by which the bases agreement could be extended beyond the expiration in 1991 of base leases. Extension of the agreement was ultimately rejected by the Philippine Senate, however, and U.S. forces were pulled from the Philippine bases in 1992.

< Edited >

bulldozzer

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Re: US bases rejected in the Philippines
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2018, 12:45:23 AM »
When I was still a student at PUP that time, I was in favor of the decision made by the senators.

But after what had happened to Spratlys/Kalayaan Islands and Panatag Shoal, I really felt that the senators that voted against the US Bases were not right.

jetmech

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Re: US bases rejected in the Philippines
« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2018, 05:04:22 PM »
  Harsh economic situation during the elder Bush's term was another factor and also the reason Clinton won ("It's the economy, stupid!" was a rally point). The US was in no position and money to fund the amount the Philippines wanted ($300M+/annually, I think).  For the opposition senators to say it was about nationalism  / patriotism the rejection of the treaty extension, was kind of BS in my opinion. It's who called bluff and lost. 

dr demented

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Re: US bases rejected in the Philippines
« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2018, 09:04:50 AM »
  Harsh economic situation during the elder Bush's term was another factor and also the reason Clinton won ("It's the economy, stupid!" was a rally point). The US was in no position and money to fund the amount the Philippines wanted ($300M+/annually, I think).  For the opposition senators to say it was about nationalism  / patriotism the rejection of the treaty extension, was kind of BS in my opinion. It's who called bluff and lost.

IIRC, during this period of time, Base Realignment and Closure Commission was recommending US base closures left and right.  Ultimately, the closure of Subic allowed other base(s) to be kept open that would otherwise have been closed or realigned.

Maverik2018

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Re: US bases rejected in the Philippines
« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2018, 05:03:13 PM »
A Matter of Honor by Alfredo Bengzon, the chief negotiator back then, is a good read about the negotiation process. I believe he's the same DOH Secretary during the time of Cory.

I tried checking if it's available in Amazon - it's not. It's an old book, perhaps 15 years ago.