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According to Bayan Muna reps, EDCA agreement is very unequal and extremely disadvantageous on Filipino interest.

Ph, the biggest US military base in the world?

According to Bayan Muna reps, EDCA agreement is very unequal and extremely disadvantageous on Filipino interest.
According to Bayan Muna reps, EDCA agreement is very unequal and extremely disadvantageous on Filipino interest.

QUEZON CITY, Philippines – Bayan Muna Reps. Neri Javier Colmenares and Carlos Isagani Zarate today said that the recently released full text of Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) between the United States of America and the Philippines proves beyond reasonable doubt about its patent unconstitutionality that should be questioned at the Supreme Court.

“This will make the Philippines the biggest military base in the world. By the stroke of a pen, through the EDCA, the Aquino government cedes all of Philippine sovereignty to the US and make us second class citizens in our own country. This agreement is very unequal and extremely disadvantageous on Filipino interest,” said Rep. Colmanares.

Rep. Colmenares said that “under Article III section 1, US forces and their ships and planes may use Philippine facilities for training, maintenance of vessels, prepositioning of military equipment including weapons such as jets and warships, as well as a staging ground deployment of forces. This will make the Philippines a forward base or a launching pad of the US and can attack other countries and may be attacked as well. This is against the spirit of the Constitution and drags us into all the wars of the US,”

“Also one of the most blatant violations of the Constitution of the EDCA is the supposed “Agreed Locations” which opens all locations in the country for US basing use. This essentially makes the whole Philippines a US military base. Pres. Aquino not only serves the sovereignty and control of Philippine bases in a silver platter to the US armed forces and its contractors. To wit based on Article III paragraph two “When requested, the Designated Authority of the Philippines shall assist in facilitating transit or temporary access by the United States forces to public land and facilities (including roads, ports, and airfields), including those owned or controlled by local governments, and to other land and facilities (including roads, ports and airfields). ” said the senior deputy minority leader.

He added that “while Philippine officials, such as the local base commander, shall have access to these agreed locations; US forces will retain “operational control” over the facilities. Access to these facilities by Philippine authorities shall be still be subject to “operational and safety requirements, which means that they can shoot anyone who enters their bases. US forces also have the authority to construct facilities or make improvements upon existing facilities,”

Rep. Colmenares said that the US forces will also be tax-exempt when paying for the use of utilities such as water and electricity according to Article 7 section 1 of the pact. US forces will also be allowed to use the radio spectrum also free of charge. They will not only compete with the scarce resources for Filipino consumers but may even cause injury to us by their utilization of the full range of the radio spectrum,”

Rep. Zarate added that Article XI of the pact also ties the hands of the Philippine government should disputes arise. The Philippine government cannot bring any disputes to a national or international court, tribunal or any third party. All resolutions shall be undertaken “exclusively through consultations between the two parties,”

“Nakakatakot at mas nakababahala ito. Why should the Philippines allow its hands to be tied like this? We will be at the losing end, once again. Say for example an incident such as the grounding of a US ship at the Tubbataha reef happens again. What remedies does the Philippine government have if the US refuses to pay up? The EDCA does not provide any provision for reparations should the US forces damage the environment. What if there are violations of laws and human rights in the implementation of this agreement like what happened to the Subic rape case? Shall we just hope that under the good graces of the US, justice will be served?” he added.

“Isang malaking kasinungaligan din ang  sinasabi  ng US at Aquino governments in terms of banning nuclear weapons dahil sa text mismo ng EDCA ay nag-aapply lang ito sa prepositioned military materiel nila at hindi  kung ito ay dala nga kanilang mga submarine, eroplano at barkong pandigma  na papasok sa ating bansa,” Rep. Zarate added.

“Finally, the agreement is actually ‘unli’, as it would last forever unless it is terminated after ten years. So we would be a US base for as long as the US wants,” Rep. Colmenares

Criselda Cabangon David, a happy mother of two kids, is a full-time Sociologist at the City Government of Lucena, Quezon Province. She is currently the Managing Editor of Ang Diaryo Natin Sunday News, a weekly local community newspaper in the Philippines and an active member of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.