Bring US bases back under strict conditions – because PH needs US help in WPS | Inquirer Opinion
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LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Bring US bases back under strict conditions – because PH needs US help in WPS

/ 04:01 AM November 02, 2021

The present situation in the West Philippine Sea requires a Philippine military pushback against China. To expel China the bully from our country’s territory, we need the help of the much more powerful superpower who is our true friend and ally — the United States of America.

I propose that, upon takeover by the next Philippine president (who must be competent, sane, pro-Filipino, pro-Western, and NOT pro-China), the Philippines starts negotiations with the US for the conditional return to the Philippines of US military bases the size of the former Clark Air Force Base and Subic Naval Base, which were removed in the 1990s. The conditions for the return of the US bases must be:

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The renegotiation of the PH-US Mutual Defense Treaty to clearly specify that the US will immediately and automatically retaliate when any foreign third party attacks Philippine territory, exclusive economic zone (EEZ), or any Philippine aircraft, ship, or boat, government-owned or private.

For the US to immediately and automatically evict, using whatever force is necessary, any foreign third-party intruder, civilian or military, that enters/occupies any part of Philippine territory, territorial seas, EEZ, or any island, reef, shoal, rock, or sandbar that belongs to the Philippines.

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China became aggressive and started occupying our territory/EEZ only after the US bases were removed. Without the massive American military presence and support that will be provided by the proposed US bases in our territory, China will one day just annex the Philippines as a colony or vassal state and enslave the Filipino people under its hegemony.

I strongly appeal to all my fellow Filipinos to agitate for and support the return of US bases. Other countries also host US military bases, among them Japan, Italy, and Thailand. These countries are indeed protected by the US defense umbrella. The 2016 Arbitral Award by the Permanent Court of Arbitration places the Philippines on high legal ground in this military pushback against China. Furthermore, China’s ancient maps show that Hainan is China’s southernmost territory.

Alongside and simultaneous with the return of the US bases, we must also build strong military alliances with other friendly Western nations, namely the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Canada, as well as NATO countries; and also with friendly, like-minded neighboring countries such as Australia, Japan, India, and South Korea.

Most important of all, with the US bases back and with additional military support from our other allies, we could buy time to make the Philippines militarily strong. Our government and the private sector must exert an all-out effort to build and maintain our own armaments/munitions manufacturing and naval shipbuilding industries.

In war and peace, these industries must provide our armed forces with a continuous supply of indigenous modern warplanes, warships, missiles, tanks, ammunition, and other advanced military equipment. Through this military-industrial cooperation, the armed forces will crush and defeat bullies and fight to win even decades-long protracted wars against invaders. The same industries can turn the Philippines into an arms-exporting country, if and when we sell to other countries Philippine-made weapons. Thousands of Filipino workers will be employed in these Industries, reducing unemployment in our country.

PEDRO I. SANTOS,
[email protected]

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TAGS: Letters to the Editor, Maritime Dispute, Pedro I. Santos, US bases, West Philippine Sea
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