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U.S. seeks expanded role for military in Philippines

By Floyd Whaley

New York Times

LAST UPDATED: 10:06 a.m. HST, Jul 13, 2013

MANILA » The United States is negotiating an agreement to allow it to position military equipment and rotate more personnel into the Philippines while avoiding the contentious issue of re-establishing U.S. bases in the country, according to officials from both countries.

The negotiations for increased military access come amid simmering tensions between the Philippines and China over areas in the South China Sea claimed by both countries and moves by the United States to ensure that it retains influence in the region even as China’s grows.

The Philippines, which has a small navy and air force, has been relying on support from the United States, a close ally, to modernize its military and upgrade its abilities. Part of this relationship has involved regular short-term visits by U.S. military forces for joint training, humanitarian work and disaster response.

The arrangement under negotiation now would allow U.S. forces to visit for longer periods and be stationed on Philippine military bases.

On Thursday, Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III, the head of the Pacific Command, said the United States was looking for access that would enable it to help the Philippines in their defense as well as to aid in responding to disasters. The admiral, who was responding to questions at a news conference, reiterated stated U.S. policy that it would not reopen bases in the Philippines.

The United States maintained large military bases in the Philippines for nearly a century to counter imperial Japan’s expansion before World War II and, later, to ensure a regional presence in the Cold War. In 1992, the last U.S. base in the country closed after street protests against what some saw as a painful reminder of decades of U.S. rule, and a decision by the Philippine Senate to discontinue the U.S. military presence.

The presence of U.S. military forces in the Philippines remains controversial, however.

James Hardy, Asia-Pacific editor for IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly, said a likely model for the use of such forces in the Philippines was the Joint Special Operations Task Force Philippines, a contingent of about 500 members of the U.S. military who come from various branches.

The task force, which focuses on counterterrorism, has been based on a Philippine military base in the southern Philippines since 2002 in a facility that is officially considered temporary.

The United States has also used its former naval base in Subic Bay for ship visits.

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Lanikaula wrote:
" In 1992, the last U.S. base in the country closed after street protests against what some saw as a painful reminder of decades of U.S. rule, and a decision by the Philippine Senate to discontinue the U.S. military presence." america's aggression STARTED here in Hawaii and we were and still are the FIRST & STILL OCCUPIED 'country' by their military. america launched their 'campaign' to save the Filipinos from Spain's rule, using our islands as their refueling, resupplying forces to send to the P.I. to allegedly help the Filipino. america NEVER LEFT Hawaii, nor the Philippines and proceeded on their aggressive ways and 'conquered' all feeble island nations for their expansionism ending now with their PUPPET GOVERNMENT in Irag & Afghanistan. Hawaii remains under the yoke and occupation of america's historic injustices and a BS apology that went NOWHERE since our PEACEFUL PROTESTS from the days of our Queen Lydia Lili'uokalani's abdication, PROTESTS, arrest, IMPRISONMENT, continued protests for the return of our island nation back into the society of FREE COUNTRIES amongst the WORLD community! It's all recorded and someday history will right the injustices and wrong's as pointed out in the Apology Bill signed by Pres Clinton. the answer is in Sec 1(4) & (5) that GUARANTEES the native Hawaiian people, the Kanaka Maoli Hawaii RECONCILIATION. we've been waiting 23 years and again NOTHING'S BEEN done or discussed! Tsssahh!!!
on July 13,2013 | 06:29AM
false wrote:
big got
on July 13,2013 | 03:38PM
Surfer_Dude wrote:
Your LOVIN us now Philippines. You kick us out of Subic and Clark and kiss off $1 billion a year rent payments not to mention all the bucks that were spent in Olongapo in the bars and bar girls. You had the mightiest military on the planet right there to cover your butt when things go south. Well guess what.....things are getting dicey down there. You've been at war with the commies and the Moslems for over 40 years. You can't even take care of business in your own country. How did you expect your puny army and navy to take care of China? Cory started this fiasco. At least her kid has the brains to fix it. Salamat.
on July 13,2013 | 07:21AM
Kapakahi wrote:
The USG is trying to tippytoe back into the Philippines and reestablish its bases, but without setting off a firestorm of opposition. Most Americans are unaware the United States negotiated with Spain for the handover of the Philippines during the Spanish-AMerican War, thereby betraying the Filipino struggle for independence. We are taught the Spanish-American War was to HELP the Cubans, FIlipinos, etc., gain their independence. When the Filipinos objected, we launched a campaign of scorched earth and concentration camps, slaughtering hundreds of thousands of Filipino independence fighters.

The US propped up the dictator Marcos for many years, until Filipino nationalist sentiment flooded the streets with "People Power" in order to overthrow him and the US helped him escape to Hawaii, along with many millions of stolen dollars.

And now, with this record, the US wants to re-establish bases as part of the "Asia Pivot" campaign to police the world on behalf of American corporations?

on July 13,2013 | 08:30AM
false wrote:
on July 13,2013 | 03:37PM
nodaddynotthebelt wrote:
The United State's role as world police has stretched our deficit into the stratosphere. This at a time when the people have grown tired of our growing debt. Instead of pouring more money into other countries we should be taking care of our own people. The world community have also grown tired of us meddling into other country's affairs. Why do we spend more of our tax dollars into the Philippine's security when we cannot even afford to pay our own military's support system. We put our own people into "sequestration" and yet we have the resources to send more of our tax dollars to help support a country's military. And this country has demanded that we leave their backyard during their better times. Now that this country is having a situation with China we all of a sudden are wanted back in their backyard. We have enough problems of our own. We should stop playing world police and start rebuilding our own country. By doing so everything else will fall into place. Maybe if we begin investing in our own country we will have a stronger stand in the world community.
on July 13,2013 | 10:13AM
false wrote:
on July 13,2013 | 03:38PM
pcman wrote:
President Obama has launched a new Pacific strategy that will employ 60% of all US forces. The main purpose of US forces overseas is to ensure the safety of Americans traveling, working and living abroad supporting corporations, colleges, the USG and the US military. Cooperating with allies allows us to mutually ensure the freedoms and liberties we enjoy together and at home. Having spent 15 of my 20 years in the military assigned in the Pacific and Asia, I can assure you the US is not anywhere for imperialism or colonialism. US forces work closely with the host countries and are required to respect and honor the host country's laws, customs and people.
on July 13,2013 | 11:06AM
pcman wrote:
I was going to say, being located forward deployed in the Philippines would put US forces closer to any potential threats throughout the Pacific and the Far East and would even be a deterrent against attacks against Americans.
on July 13,2013 | 12:07PM
false wrote:
good common sense
on July 13,2013 | 03:38PM
localguy wrote:
pcman could not be further from the truth about why US forces are in other countries. US troops in foreign countries have no role in protecting Americans. Responsibility falls on the host country. We are not policemen in other countries by law. How could he be so wrong? Must have been a R E M F during his 20 year career. Yes we do try to work with other countries at every level. Our Special Forces are the worlds best trainers, work to assist foreign military in improving their skills, stop insurgents, terrorists. But we are never policemen in another country.
on July 13,2013 | 07:16PM
false wrote:
pcman, thanks: between the we want hawaii back because we the original people bloggers, and we don't want americans but if the chinese attack, we want them to die for us nationalistas, you put it into perfect perspective: it's good for the host country, and good for the guest country.
on July 13,2013 | 03:32PM
sailfish1 wrote:
Why do we want to help the Philippines militarily? They didn't want our bases there and kicked us out. Now they have a problem with China so they want the U.S to help them. Let them help themselves for once - they are a corrupt country that keeps their people impoverished. Look at all the other Asian countries that have evolved into big economic powerhouses while the Philippines has done nothing.
on July 13,2013 | 07:38PM
Adam1105 wrote:
Let's base some U.S. military on Mars, shall we.
on July 14,2013 | 12:07AM
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