Increasing American bases may not bring the Philippines safety

By strengthening its military presence in the Philippines, the paper says the US doubtlessly hurts regional stability and increases regional tensions.


US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin III visits the Armed Forces of the Philippines' Western Mindanao Command in Zamboanga City, Philippines, Feb 1, 2023. [Photo/Agencies]

February 3, 2023

BEIJING – Despite concerns from China and all fellow peace-loving parties in the region, the Philippines agreed to the US to add four military bases in its soil.

By strengthening its already very strong military presence in the Philippines, namely three to four aircraft carriers and two military base groups, the US doubtlessly hurts regional stability and increases regional tensions.

Its latest move also threatens to distance the Philippines further from China by reducing their mutual trust. The more US troops that arrive in the Philippines are of course not coming for peace, but as a threat and for deterrence.

The Philippines cannot count on the US military base making them safer. What’s worse, it will only bring the country more trouble, given the hard lessons it has already learned, as well as other nations hosting US military bases.

As early as 1993, a WHO report found that “toxic dumping, accidental spills, and environmentally destructive practices had made numerous sites at Clark Airbase and military base at Subic Bay unsafe and detrimental to human health.”

Their toxic waste included lead, aviation fuel, underground storage tank leaks, sewerage contamination, unexploded materials and radioactive materials. A similar situation happened in Yokosuka of Japan, where the local government now has plans to probe the US naval base situated there.

In 2020, a local organization in Okinawa even published a pamphlet recording the crimes of US troops there, with rape records ranging from 1949 to 2016. Among the victims, the youngest was a 9-month-old baby that was robbed from her mother’s arms and raped to death by a US soldier.

On Jan 31, South Korean police collected evidence from a US military employee, suspected of sexually violating a local woman on July 24, 2022. The woman was witnessed running out of the US military calling for help and frantically describing her experience.

Neither in history nor in reality have US military bases brought safety. The time has come for the Philippines to learn that undeniable fact.

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