Where Are The US’ Secret Bases In Philippines?November 21, 2007 at 11:14 am | Posted in 1 | 1 Comment
US gov’t lists RP as hosting “cooperative security locations” — a category of US bases — but gov’t has neither announced their existence nor disclosed their locations.
MANILA, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Nov. 21, 2007) – Revealing that the Philippines hosts US “cooperative security locations” (CSLs) — a new category of US military bases, a new report launched by an international research institute raised the question: Where are these bases in the Philippines?
In a little-reported event, the US’ Overseas Basing Commission, a body created by the US Congress to review the ongoing realignment of US military presence around the world, has listed the Philippines as among the countries where the US has been developing CSLs.
The Philippine government, the report noted, has neither announced its decision to allow the opening of these CSLs nor has it revealed where these bases are located.
Entitled ‘At the Door of All the East’: The Philippines in US Military Strategy, the report is published by Focus on the Global South, an international policy research organization based at the Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand, with country offices in Manila and Mumbai.
According to the Pentagon, CSLs are categorized as US military installations that are nominally owned by host governments, but are to be provided for the US’ use when needed.
They would most likely be ran and maintained by host-nation personnel or even private contractors. They are useful for pre-positioning logistics support or as venues for joint operations with host militaries.
CSLs are also called “lily pads” intended to allow the US to hop on from their larger bases to their destinations rapidly when necessary. With their low profile, they are envisioned not to attract the level of attention that has fueled domestic opposition to US military presence in many places around the world.
Though the Philippine government has neither acknowledged nor identified the locations of these bases in the Philippines, the report quotes a prominent American journalist and author who has visited such facilities as suggesting that one such CSL is in Mactan island in Cebu province, once a base for P3 Orion reconnaissance planes operating in Mindanao.
Other possible leads offered for those with the capacity to probe further include the Subic Bay port, the Clark Airfield, and the General Santos City airport.
Comparing the amounts of US military assistance countries in East Asia get with their own military expenditures, the Philippines stands out for having the largest percentage of US military assistance relative to its military budget, according to a report by the Focus on Global South.
This is an indication that the Philippines is the most dependent among all recipients of US military aid in East Asia, its report said.
The report shows that, since 9/11, the Philippines has been by far the largest recipient of US military assistance in all of East Asia. In fact, between 2002-2005, the country obtained approximately 85% of the total allocated to Southeast Asia.
Its $54 million annual average is over ten times more than the next biggest recipient, Thailand, another close US ally, which got an average of $4 million annually during that period, it said in a statement sent to the Mindanao Examiner.
At the same time, the Philippines has one of the lowest military budgets in the region. In absolute terms, the Philippines tops only Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos in average annual military spending from 1988 to 2005.
At $814 million a year (in constant 2005 prices and exchange rates), the Philippines’ is just a little over one-fifth of top spender Singapore and one-third of Indonesia and Thailand. As a percentage of annual economic output, the Philippines’ average annual military spending is the lowest in the region.
Taking into account the share of US military aid as a proportion of the total military budget, the Philippines is relatively the most dependent on US military assistance among countries in the region, if such can be gauged by comparing how much a country gets from the US and how much it is spending.
By this measure, from 1988 to 2005, US military assistance was equivalent to over 8% of the Philippines’ average annual military expenditure. This is far larger than any other country in the region, much more than that of another close US ally, Thailand, for which US military is only 0.4% of its annual military expenditure.(Herbert Docena)