Palace denies plans to allow U.S. bases

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The United States aircraft carrier "George Washington" (CVN-73) is anchored at the Manila Bay for a five-day goodwill visit from Oct. 24 to 29, 2012. Its officers and crew are expected to participate in various civic and military engagements in Metro Manila and Cavite. PHOTO BY PRIAM F. NEPOMUCENO/PNA
The United States aircraft carrier “George Washington” (CVN-73) is anchored at the Manila Bay for a five-day goodwill visit from Oct. 24 to 29, 2012. Its officers and crew are expected to participate in various civic and military engagements in Metro Manila and Cavite. PHOTO BY PRIAM F. NEPOMUCENO/PNA

MANILA (13-Nov-2012/PNA) – Malacanang assured Monday there were no plans to allow the return of American military bases in the country despite the announcement of the Obama administration to increase military presence in the Asia Pacific region.

“There are no basing arrangements with the Americans. That has been ruled out,” Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said Monday during the regular press briefing in Malacanang.

Allowing the US to revive its military bases in the Philippines is not consistent with the country’s 1987 Constitution, Lacierda said. The Philippine government will instead focus on the Visiting Forces Agreement to improve the capability of the Philippine military. Under the VFA, US and Filipino forces conduct joint military exercises to increase their combat readiness.

The Philippine military is in the process of modernizing its military, Lacierda said, adding that during the visit of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper last weekend, the Philippines and Canada agreed for the purchase of military hardware for the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

During the commemoration of the Veterans’ Day at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in Taguig City Sunday, US Ambassador Harry Thomas Jr. said the US government has no plans of putting up military bases in the Philippines despite President Barack Obama’s Pacific Rim policy.

Under the new US policy, the American military aims to refocus its forces in the Asia Pacific region.

Thomas said, however, that the US military will continue giving extensive trainings to Philippine military personnel under the existing military tie up.

Aside from providing the Filipino soldiers’ training, the US military is also committed in assisting the Philippines by extending humanitarian assistance particularly during calamities, he said.

Under its military engagement in the Asia Pacific region, the US government has increased its military presence in Singapore and Australia.

In 1991, the Philippine Senate voted to shut down US military bases in Clark and Subic. The last American forces left in 1992. (PNA)

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