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Philippines Exploring Allowing U.S. and Japan More Use of Bases

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USS Enterprise (CVN-65) at Subic Bay in 1993. US Navy Photo

USS Enterprise (CVN-65) at Subic Bay in 1993. US Navy Photo

The Philippines plan to give greater access to U.S. and Japanese allies to military bases including the former U.S. Naval Station Subic Bay, Philippine defense officials said Thursday in a report in Reuters.

The report comes in tandem with reports, the military is preparing a proposal to expand leftover U.S. bases after the Pentagons removed its forces in 1992.

According to the report, Philippine naval leaders are preparing a $230 million plan to base development bases as hedges against increased Chinese expansion into the South China Sea.

The military expects to present the plan to President Benigno Aquino, according to the report.

The base expansion plan follows the 2012 approval of the Philippine Congress of a $1.8 billion expansion of military equipment to modernize Philippine forces.

“The chances of this plan taking off under President Aquino are high because his administration has been very supportive in terms of equipment upgrade,” a senior military officer who asked not to be identified told Reuters.
“The people around him understood our needs and more importantly, what our country is facing at this time.”

However, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said no decisions were final in response to the report on Thursday.

Gazmin did say the government is still working on a plan to expand the U.S. and Japan access to Philippine military bases.

“If and when there is agreement on the access, then there will be equipment coming in from the (United) States,” Gazmin told a joint news conference in Manila after meeting with visiting Japan Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera reported the Philippine website Inquirer.net.

“Now as far as Japan is concerned, we do welcome other countries — particularly Japan since Japan is a strategic partner — in accordance with our existing protocols.”

The Philippine Navy recently accepted delivery of a former U.S. Hamilton-class Coast Guard cutter into their fleet.

The re-christened BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PF-16) left Charleston, S.C. for Manila earlier this month.

  • Battlestar

    The year of the photo is wrong, in 1993 USS Enterprise was in Newport News VA being refuelled, I think you meant 1983, when the Big E was in PI during her 1982-83 Westpac cruise.

    • TheTruth

      Good call. I had remembered my ship USS England CG22 was the last combatant surface vessel to leave in April of ’92.

  • Mr. Conners

    Wow, look at Subic Bay, looked beautiful. God truly blessed the American’s. Today that Bay is full of trash pollution, and dynamite/cyanide fisherman. I’m sure the Philippines will welcome the US back so it can blame someone else for all their problems. Any fines levied to the Chinese vessel that hit Tubatha Reef? Let Asian countries solve Asian problems. Do we not learn from history?

    • Ctrot

      Yes, we learn from history, sometimes. We’ve learned that Pacific problems are our problems.

    • TheTruth

      Being that most societies, especially that of the US, live in a world wide market, a conflict in the Gulf of Aden, The Mediterranean or the Strait of Hormuz becomes detrimental to our way of life.

  • 1twothree4

    Many fond memories of Subic City and Alongapo. Ice cold beers at 10 PM on the roof of the Miami club watching thunderstorms, snorkeling at Grande Island, and oh the poon!

    • Billy Bob

      Olongapo.

  • muzzleloader

    A unique photo to me, as I was on the Big-E on westpac, and never pulled into Subic, as indicated here. We always docked at Cubi. What beautiful place it was, and what memories!