Philippines to Assist U.S. if Needed in War Against Russia, President Says

President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, whose term of office ends in May this year, has pledged military support for the U.S. in the event that the war in "Ukraine spills over into Asia." The Philippines is one of the countries which were lined up by the U.S./NATO forces to vote on March 2 in favour of the UN General Assembly Special Session resolution on Ukraine condemning Russia and to demand the immediate withdrawal of all Russian troops from Ukrainian territory.

Philippine Ambassador to the U.S. Jose Manuel Romualdez stated in a press conference on March 10 that: "He [Duterte] says if they're asking for support from the Philippines, it is very clear that, of course, if push comes to shove, the Philippines will be ready to be part of the effort, especially if the Ukrainian crisis spills over to the Asian region." Romualdez further stated that Duterte pledged that the "Philippines is ready to offer whatever facilities or whatever things that the United States will need being a major... our number one ally."

Media reports note that while Duterte did not specify which "facilities" or "whatever things" he would offer the U.S., it will certainly include the large Clarke Air Base and Subic Bay Naval Base northwest of Manila, the capital, at one time the largest U.S. military bases outside the continental United States.

Subic Bay was established in 1904 for the U.S. Seventh Fleet. In 1945, following the Second World War, the Clarke Air Base was established as a military base for the 13th Air Force and 55 units of the Pacific Air Force Command which were involved in the U.S. wars of aggression against the Korean people and later against the Vietnamese people. These bases remained as part of the U.S.-Philippines Mutual Defence Treaty of 1951 forced upon the Filipino people by the U.S. imperialists. It was through the resistance of the Filipino people led by the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People's Army, as well as the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo which caused extensive damage to Clark Air Base, that U.S. forces withdrew from Clarke in 1991 and Subic Bay in 1992.

In 1987, the Philippine Constitution forbid any U.S. or other foreign bases. The U.S. acted against this and the firm resistance of Filipinos by securing the 1999 Visiting Forces Agreement, and the 2014 Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement (EDCA, updated in 2021). They allow the U.S. military to bring in troops and make use of all existing Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) bases anywhere in the Philippines. The Filipino people have had to bear the burden of these costs financially and politically and continue to oppose these onerous and dangerous military agreements which endanger not only the people of the Philippines but the peoples of Asia and the world. The National Democratic Front of the Philippines and the New People's Army have condemned the decision of the Duterte regime of March 10, and have called for stepped up resistance to rid the Philippines of U.S. imperialist domination.

This article was published in
Volume 52 Number 4 - April 3, 2022

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