Monday, May 2, 2011

Testing the Water Might Lead to Its Boiling Point
By Erick San Juan
In the midst of a very hot season, the country is now being faced with various hot issues, one after another. Alongside are problems very close to every Filipino’s grumbling stomach, the reason why there is a growing number of hot-headed individuals nowadays.
One hot issue came out just recently, as reported by one of the leading broadsheets, that US Senators Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) and William Thad Cochran (R- Mississippi) visited the country for a “possible return of the US naval base in Subic.”
The timing of the so-called visit of the two solons from the US Senate is really suspicious and has raised a lot of speculations from all sectors of the society, even if the good US Embassy press attaché Rebecca Thompson has denied the said rumor.
The nature of such matter should not be taken lightly especially now that the Visiting Forces Agreement is undergoing a “comprehensive review” by the reorganized review commission under the Office of the President. Possibilities of such various speculations can be incorporated one way or another in the review of the VFA if this present administration will not practice transparency.
The rest of us will be caught unaware because Uncle Sam is so desperately in need of more naval bases in this part of the region as Japan is slowly coming out of the ruins of the past triple calamity that shook them terribly. Even the Guamanians are resisting the new military installations there.
As what I have written in my past articles, Japan’s political life has been altered several times to please Uncle Sam when it comes to the issue of the US marine base in Okinawa. But it was already decided and the planned transfer of the US marine base from Okinawa to Guam is underway until the disaster happened.
All eyes are now on the Philippines for a perceived comeback of a US naval base that could produce a man-made calamity and turn the country into a magnet that will attract a regional conflict in the process.
The timing is right as events unfold after the March incident of a reported “harassment” by Chinese patrol boats in the Reed Bank near the Spratlys where an oil exploration is ongoing that led to the diplomatic protest filed by the Philippines before the United Nations.
Followed by the announcement of the Department of Energy and the Department of National Defense that will seek assistance from the US in training forces that will safeguard the exploration in the said area. And from the Malampaya royalties, the country will purchase from the US three blue water ships, helicopters, six to seven radar systems all across Mindanao and Palawan.

Whether we like it or not, these developments are really inviting trouble. We have to be careful or else we will be in a situation that can lead us all to a mutually assured destruction, as I always keep on reminding this government and the populace.
Could it be that the said visit of the two elder senators from the US Senate Appropriations committee was to test the water, so to speak and make it appear that they are here “to see the economic progress in the Subic Freeport area that has been made over the years and to ask how the US can collaborate”?
Remember, Uncle Sam is not our enemy, but we have to be wary in dealing with them for any possibilities to becoming a pawn in a regional war game. As the old saying, "If you cannot leak them, join them." But, we have to get what's due us this time. Whether we like it or not, we are engage  and never let history of double cross repeat itself.

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