The U.S. Never Left PH
by Erick San Juan
For the past few months, the country has witnessed incidents that could lead to the nagging question, do we have the US military bases again? But on second thought, they never left, and worst, they have the whole archipelago as their base a.k.a. military outpost in the region.
From dumping ‘toxic waste’ to our waters, to finding a drone in our shore, to destroying precious reefs in Tubbataha and these are just the recent ones.
For the record, the US military bases left some two decades ago but it seems that the provisions in the said Military Bases Agreement (MBA) which was signed in 1947 were still very much in effect. Like the “US maritime vessels shall not be subject to the navigation laws of the Philippines.” There must be a memory lapse somewhere and they forgot that the said agreement was no longer in effect.
This happened recently when the US Navy minesweeper ran aground on a coral reef at the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park. Angelique Songco, head of the government's Protected Area Management Board that supervises the marine park said that the marine park's management would file a formal protest with the US government over the behavior of the Guardian's commander who prevented park rangers from approaching the vessel.
She said that park rangers were not allowed to board the ship for inspection and were told to contact the US Embassy in Manila. Their radio calls to the ship were ignored, she said.
"The ship's commander ordered a general alert and deployed personnel into battle position when our rangers tried to approach their ship to assess the situation, forcing them to back off," she said in a phone interview.
"They were well inside the marine park, stuck in the North Atoll of Tubbataha, and we were being prevented from coming close," she said. (Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer/ Asia News Network 1-20-2013)
Such show of arrogance is a masterpiece of how some Uncle Sam's officers treat its ally and holds true the perception that we are its ‘doormat’ in this very strategic area in the Pacific.
With its world renowned high-tech radars and other military hardware, why in the world did the ship hit the reef? And why is it in the area in the first place? Many questions left unanswered (as of this writing). But one thing is clear here, incidents like this will happen in the future and the government will just be contented for whatever reason that the US government will issue.
The fact that we don’t have the MBA anymore is not an assurance that US will follow our country’s laws and constitution at that, remember, we still have the Mutual Defense Treaty and the Visiting Forces Agreement, both pacts were in place for the continuous US troops’ deployment here.
This is the legacy of our past leaders, kowtowing to a perceived master and entering agreements that are very one-sided. After we did our role as Uncle Sam’s cannon fodder in WWII here in the region, what we got were treaties that has benefitted only their interests. We were shortchanged in the process and now history is being repeated by people who never learned from the lessons of the past.
As what UP Prof. Roland Simbulan critically wrote in his book, The Bases of Our Insecurity – “It is the US bases’ Philippine location in the South China Sea that places all the countries of Asia within their reach. Essentially, these bases are launching pads for wars in Asia: they are springboards for interventions.”
This was written in 1983 but the present scenario of US military’s pivot to Asia-Pacific with the Philippines as its springboard is a good copy that they will never leave us in order to complete their ‘operation’ in the region.
And with “the presence of the installations and their operations in the Philippines were not enough, our people are forced to become accomplices in US wars and acts of aggression, our lives endangered, our aspirations destroyed and our future strangled.” (Ibid) Translation – we are like a huge magnet attracting more enemies and putting the whole country in the crosshairs.
With this scenario in effect, our relationship with China is not getting any better as our leaders began parroting the dictates from the West that we have to show acts of aggression and/or provocations against China.
The continuing saber-rattling of G2 (China and the US) here in the region, using us as their pawn is a masterpiece that some of our high ranking officials has failed to see. That in order to avoid conflict in their own backyard (in China and in the US), they will create an outside enemy and will force their citizenry to unite against this ‘virtual aggressor’. Presto, civil war in China will be avoided and so is a possible second revolution in the US. We have to remember that both nations US and China are like twin brothers wherein their economies are intertwined that when one collapsed, the other followed. We could be the epicenter of conflict in Asia.
If PNoy and people in his loop will not heed our warning, this country will be just what I have been saying, Phili-finished!