MANILA, Philippines- The ongoing construction of a mini-Subic Naval Base in Oyster Bay, southwest of Manila will be used as one of the command posts of the US Marines, according to the fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya).
Pamalakaya on Monday called on the attention of Department of Justice (DoJ) secretary Leila de Lima to investigate the construction of US military bases in Palawan.
In their letter of appeal to Secretary de Lima, the group said “the national leadership of Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya), a national federation representing 43 provincial fisherfolk organizations and regional formations in Southern Tagalog, Central Luzon, Bicol, Eastern Visayas, Central Visayas, Panay and Guimaras Islands, Northern Mindanao and Far South Mindanao regions in the Philippines humbly submit this letter of appeal to the Honorable Office of the Secretary of Justice calling for a full-blown investigation on the reported plan of the Philippine government to construct a mini-Subic Naval Base in Oyster Bay, province of Palawan.”
The mini-Subic Naval Base according to Navy officials of the Aquino government will enhance the external defense capability of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in lieu of the perpetual tension in the West Philippine Sea between the Government of the Philippines and China and among the current claimants in Spratly Group of Islands.
But Pamalakaya told Secretary de Lima that the Oyster Bay mini-naval base project is part of the US agenda to increase its military presence in the Philippines on rotational basis. It argued that it is designed to host military warships of Washington not only to check the disturbing presence of Chinese military in West Philippine Sea but to preserve the military hegemony of the US in East Asia and the Pacific in the name of military program known as US Pivot in the region.
The militant group said the construction of mini-Subic Naval base in Oyster Bay and the setting up of command posts in different parts of Palawan are in gross violation of the 1987 Philippine Constitution that strictly prohibits foreign military bases in the country.
According to Article XVIII, Section 25 of the 1987 charter – foreign military bases, troops, or facilities shall not be allowed in the Philippines except under a treaty duly concurred in by the Senate ,and when the Congress so requires, ratified by a majority of the votes cast by the people in a national referendum held for that purpose, and recognized as a treaty by the other contracting State.
Pamalakaya noted that although Philippine defense and navy officials are in denial mode about the claim that such is being undertaken for the purpose of US military basing and increased access as to use of Philippine military facilities, the difference is hairline, and it automatically falls under full-pledged US military basing or politically synonymous to foreign military basing and such represents wholesale violation of national sovereignty of nearly 100 million Filipinos.
The group said the impact of Oyster Bay naval base project to the livelihood of fishing folks and marine environment is far reaching, extremely dangerous and totally catastrophic. Pamalakaya also lamented that taxpayers’ money had been used to develop the naval base for US marines. It said a total of P 500 million will be released for the construction of 12-kilometer road as enabling structure for the Oyster Bay naval base. ###