US doesn’t want new military bases in PH: Goldberg

MANILA – The United States has no desire of opening new military bases in the Philippines, US Ambassador Philip Goldberg maintained Thursday.

In an interview on radio dzMM, Goldberg stressed that the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) between the two countries will only allow US forces to have access to existing Philippine military facilities.

That the US, through EDCA, will open new bases in the Philippines is only a “misconception,” Goldberg said.

“No, we are not opening new bases in the Philippines. The Philippines wouldn’t invite us to do so and we don’t desire to do so… It’s not the case. What is the case is that we will have rotational forces here, some number of them to be decided mutually, decided in agreement between the two sides — where they should be, who they should be, all of those things,” he said.

“What it does allow us to do is to have a greater presence to work more closely with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). It is the goal of the Philippine government and the Philippine people to build a minimum credible defense, and so the Philippines is accessing help from traditional allies like the United States and also from strategic partners like Japan and Australia,” he added.

According to Goldberg, the US is very pleased with the ruling of the Supreme Court (SC) declaring the EDCA constitutional.

He said the agreement, which was signed in April 2014, will not only help modernize the AFP but also upgrade the military’s capability for national defense, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

“We’ve done all those things before,” he said, citing the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) and the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) between the two allies.

“But what [EDCA] allows us to do is even more. It allows us to have those forces here on a rotational basis, on sovereign Philippine territory and bases. It allows us to preposition supplies and do things in an enhanced way just as the name in the agreement implies.”

The agreement, meanwhile, is also as beneficial to the United States, he said.

“The United States gets to be more present in the region, is able to carry out a couple of aspects of our re-balance to Asia, which is to help rebuild alliances that have been long standing, and the Philippines is our oldest ally in Asia,” Goldberg explained.

ON CHINA SEA ROW

While the security deal was signed amid the growing tension between the Philippines and China over the disputed West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), Goldberg stressed that it is not directly aimed at resolving the maritime row.

He said the US supports the Philippines in its efforts to resolve the dispute through legal and peaceful means.

“The EDCA is not directly aimed at any country. It is not directly aimed at resolving the South China Sea, the West Philippine Sea claims issues. We support the Philippines and its efforts to decide those claims and those issues peacefully and legally under the tribunal case under the law of the sea,” he said.

“But at the same time, the Philippines has this need and desire to be able to build up a minimum credible defense which it is fully entitled to do. The Philippines is our ally,” he added, reiterating US President Barack Obama’s pledge that his country’s commitment to defend the Philippines is “ironclad.”

“I think it’s important for people to understand and to respect the fact that the Philippines and we believe in legal and peaceful way of resolving these disputes, and that the South China Sea issue should be considered through the framework of international law, through the rules-based solutions and diplomatic solutions like codes of conduct, and not unilateral actions like building new islands like what’s going on at the moment,” said Goldberg.

‘WORTH IT’

Goldberg, meanwhile, said there is nothing they can do about those who are against the US-Philippine agreement.

He said he believes that majority of the Filipino people support it and the Philippines’ defense relationship with the US.

“The people should have no doubt that this will be carried out not as new bases, not as something as the case in the past, but a new framework and a new way of working together.

“I think [EDCA] will be worth it because it will solidify the defense relationships between our two countries,” he said.

5 Comments on this post.

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  • Mario
    28 January 2016 at 9:52 pm - Reply

    Our US friend and ally, does not want New military bases in PH. Big blow from PNOY,I think he feels guilty, because it was his mother, Cory Aquino , who kick-out the Americans from Clark & Subic Air base.US has never forgotten, what Cory did to them, the mere fact that it was US who installed Cory to become the President of PH. Instead she went to China with a red carpet, to find out her roots. If you will recall, NINOY AQUINO exposed the take-over of SABAH by Marcos from the Malaysian government.Today, the proposed Bansamoro Basic Law(BBL) is a pet bill of PNOY, I wish it will never passed. Hundreds Pinoy Moslems fighters from Basilan joined ISIS and soon they will come back, to established a separate Republic of Mindanao. Filipino voters should know the background and loyalty of our future leaders. Always remember the old Filipino belief ” A Traitors runs in the blood”.

    • Probinsiyano
      1 February 2016 at 2:49 pm - Reply

      Your right…same thing happened to Andres Bonifacio, it was the traitor that got him killed…

  • HELLO
    29 January 2016 at 10:12 pm - Reply

    Yes U S Ambassador Philip Godberg, is 100% right about not having, U S open new bases in the Philippines,and the Philippines wouldn’t invite us to do so. And we don’t desire to do so. Look Philippines we were their one time you Philippines got rid of us. So I feel like a lot of Americans why do we America have to go back to your country. Waste our America taxes money, I think we help your country Philippines a lot already. China will not do nothing dumb to your country because, we will be watching your back, and I think that’s good enough and not opening new US bases in the Philippines.

    • Arbi
      30 January 2016 at 1:38 pm - Reply

      without the US Bases your your mom wouldnt get a night job……….

  • Santiago Del Mundo
    2 February 2016 at 9:09 am - Reply

    No U.S. bases….hmm…so we can send out Arbi out on a bamboo raft with some home-made bamboo canons and some firecrackers from Bulacan to scare China out of the South China sea… let’s design a bamboo raft to make it look like a battleship…6 bamboo canon up front and 6 bamboo canon back…ain’t that something? Pee-noy would approve this one in a heartbeat…

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