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By NELSON D. LAVIÑA
Not in recent memory has our government been subjected to intensely sustained political and diplomatic pressure on US bases except during the incumbencies of the first and second Aquino administrations.
Even long after the Military Bases Agreement was abolished back in 1991, US troops are still present in the Philippines, undermining its sovereignty.
By Marjohara Tucay
The planned visit of US Secretary of State John Kerry to the Philippines, which was cancelled at the last minute, made me reminisce about another state visit, made nearly two years ago, by then US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. That state visit changed the course of my life and earned me the moniker “Hillary’s heckler.”
By Conrado de Quiros
It’s one of the sublime ironies of this magic-realist country that the only time we did not have a US military presence here was during Fidel Ramos’ rule. Which was from 1992 to 1998, the period shortly after the Magnificent 12 booted out the US bases in 1991 and Erap’s Senate approved the Visiting Forces [...]
The USS Guardian, a minesweeper swept off balance by big waves, ripped a huge portion of our treasured Tubbataha Reef. The US Navy claimed that the accident was due to its “wrong map navigational data.” (Maybe it’s made in China.)
The unmanned aerial vehicle or drone found off the waters of Masbate last weekend raises serious questions, not only about the scope of US military activity in the Philippines but also about the grave threat the expanded American use of drones poses to the community of nations.
No one as yet knows the true scale of the Subic Bay problem, but this much is clear: In at least one instance, a “support vessel” belonging to a Malaysian-owned contractor of the US Navy dumped tens of thousands of gallons of liquid waste into Philippine waters—and those wastes were found to be untreated and therefore toxic.
This refers to Ricardo Ramos’ letter, where he said “Cory betrayed the Filipino people” because she pursued “a position similar to the American position,” as revealed in a book written by Dr. Alran Bengzon, then health secretary and head of Philippine government negotiating panel (Inquirer, 10/6/12).
By Randy David
If only because every so often it haunts us like an annoying ghost from an exultant past, it is worth remembering that the 1987 Constitution was ratified on Feb. 11, 1987, exactly 25 years ago.
Twenty years after they left their military bases here, the American forces may be back in bigger numbers. Philippine defense and military officials have confirmed a Washington Post report last week that Manila and Washington are negotiating a deal that would increase cooperation between the two militaries, owing to the tension in the West Philippine Sea over the disputed Spratlys as well as other considerations. Although Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said the terms of any accord would still be governed by the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), which allows the periodic visits of US troops for joint training and exercises with the Philippine military, the development is significant because any expansion of the VFA would effectively rebuild American military presence in the region.
By Randy David
Twenty years ago, on Sept. 16, 1991, the Philippine Senate took a vote that forever changed Philippine-American relations. By a close vote of 12-11, a sharply divided Senate rejected a new treaty that would allow the United States to continue using its naval facilities in Subic for another 10 years after the expiration of the [...]