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EDCA Will Turn the Philippines

Into The Biggest Military Base of the US


Privilege Speech May 7 !"#$
By BA%A& MU&A PA'T%()IST
'ep* &eri +* Col,enares
Mr. Speaker, my dear colleagues, I rise on a personal and collective privilege to speak
about the issue called the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement or EDCA.
Bac-groun.
he Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement !EDCA" #as negotiated in secrecy
for nearly t#o years. $hile hiding the details of the negotiation, the %hilippine government
publicly repeated magic #ords like defense against &China', humanitarian aid, and military
aid or moderni(ation of the A)%. It #as signed on April *+, *,-. #ithout involving the
Senate, or the /ouse of 0epresentatives, and #ithout the public kno#ing anything about the
agreement even if Article 12II, Section *3 of the Constitution re4uires a Senate concurrence
in the ratification of the EDCA, the discretion of both /ouses of Congress to decide #hether
or not to call for a referendum to get the people5s approval.
$hile #e assert that the %hilippines should stand our ground and not allo# China to
grab our territories in the &$est %hilippine Sea', #e contend that should #e need to get
support against Chinese incursions, #e should rally support from members of the
international community, such as countries #ho are aggrieved by these incursions, and those
#ho are sincerely against e6pansionist aggression. he recourse to the Arbitral ribunal
under the 78C9:S #as an appropriate step since it brought to the attention of the
international community the fact that the territorial claims of China are bereft of any
evidence. his #ill cause China5s isolation and open her to sanctions should she disregard
the ribunal #hile pursuing aggressive and violent incursions in the disputed area.
0ecourse to the 7nited States !7S" government for support is not ;ust dangerous to,
but violative of the )ilipino peoples interest because the 7S has al#ays acted in accordance
#ith its selfish national interest #ithout consideration of the interest of those the 7S relate
#ith. :ur e6perience and that of the Ira4i people, for e6ample, have proven this assertion.
Considering that the 7S government has long yearned for the return of their bases in the
%hilippines after the )ilipino people ousted these in -<<-, it is foolhardy for the A4uino
-
government to allo# the 7S to openly reestablish their bases in the country and reverse the
gains of the people. In fact, %res. =arack :bama has categorically e6pressed that it #ill not
counter or &contain' China. It is no# clear that the 7S has no intention of endangering #hat
%res. :bama described as the enormous trade and enormous business that is done between
the US and China', by defending %hilippine claims in the disputed area against China. he
7S o#es China at least 7S> -.*+ rillion and has a total of 7S>3?< =illion in trade #ith
China, #ith only 7S>-?.@ =illion #ith the %hilippines.
Despite such public admission that the %hilippines cannot e6pect support from the 7S
against China, the A4uino administration signed and pushed through #ith the EDCA. After
EDCA has been published, ho#ever, many )ilipinos #ere shocked #ith the many provisions
that granted the 7S so much in e6change for nothing. he %hilippine government then #ent
on a media offensive to ;ustify its open surrender of %hilippine sovereignty, using language
engineering by constantly repeating magic #ords like &mutuality of benefits', &temporary',
&humanitarian aid', &environmental protection', &no permanent bases' and other propaganda
highlights intended to obfuscate the issue. hus a need to discuss in clear and concrete terms
#hat the %hilippines gave, in #hat could be one of the most lopsided agreements signed by
the %hilippines that is grossly disadvantageous to the people and the country. he issue is not
#hether one is proA7S or proAChina but rather #hether one is proA)ilipino. $hile #e should
definitely stand our ground against China, #e should refuse to surrender our sovereignty,
territorial integrity and our dignity as a people to the 7nited States. 7nfortunately, the
%hilippine government has done the contrary.
his paperBspeech aims to discuss the ma;or provisions #ith dire political, legal and
other implications on the )ilipino people. It #ill not e6haustively discuss all the 4uestionable
provisions but #ill only focus onC
!i" %rovisions that have grave implications on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of
the country, through the open establishment of 7S military bases in the countryD
!ii" %rovisions that violate various constitutional provisions and la#s of the country
his #ill reserve thorough discussion of the violation of the constitutional provision
under Article 12III, Section *3 e6pressly re4uiring EDCA to be ratified as a treaty and not a
mere e6ecutive agreement, in a subse4uent discussion.
Selling out Philippine Sovereignty/ 0pen esta1lish,ent of US Military Bases
he &Agreed 9ocation' under EDCA is the term used for the military bases that the
7nited States government #ill put up in the country. $hile the %hilippine government has
consistently assured the people that these Eagreed locations' #ill be situated in A)% military
camps, the EDCA provisions belie this assertionFbecause no#here in EDCA is there a
limitation or restriction as to the place of the said Eagreed locations5, or the ma6imum number
allo#ed, or the total area each base #ill cover or the total number of troops. In fact,
government has openly admitted that Subic, #hich is not a military camp, is considered as a
site for the Eagreed location5.
he agreed locations are not only limitless both in terms of number and place but also
unidentified as these may be provided in the yet un#ritten or unpublished &Anne6' of EDCA,
*
and #orse, even after EDCA comes into force, additional or e6panded &agreed locations'
may still be inserted in its & implementing arrangements' as provided under Article II, %ar. .
of EDCAC
Agreed Locations means facilities and areas that are provided by the
Government of the Philippines through the AP and that United States forces!
United States contractors! and others as mutually agreed! shall have the
right to access and use pursuant to this Agreement" Such Agreed Locations
may be listed in an annex to be appended to this Agreement! and may be
further described in implementing arrangements
hese locations could be any#here in the %hilippines and may not even be clearly
listed or described at all. Additionally, the fact that it could be inserted anytime after the
Anne6 is appended through mere &implementing arrangements' renders the entire process
untransparent since ne# or e6panded agreed locations may be surreptitiously added long after
the EDCA is in force hidden from public vie#.
$orse, the EDCA commands the %hilippine government to grant any 7S re4uest for
access to any, including private, land or facility in the country under Art. III, %ar. *,
practically transforming the country into one 7S military baseC
#hen requested! the $esignated Authority of the Philippines shall assist in
facilitating transit or temporary access by 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)
he EDCA is littered #ith broad and vague generalities and limitless possibilities
such as the above, interspersed #ith language engineering containing irrelevant but nice
sounding provisions, #hich practically and surreptitiously allo#s the 7S discretion in
establishing bases and conducting military activities any#here in the %hilippines at anytime.
Esta1lishing Military Bases
Any rightAminded person #ho reads EDCA can immediately conclude that the
supposed &agreed locations' are actually military bases. Government contends that these are
not bases because as stated in their primer &'he defining features of foreign military bases
( e)traterritoriality! e)clusivity in use and foreign ownership ( will not be applicable in the
Agreed Locations'. he government tries to delude the people by using the traditional
concept of a foreign military base, #hich in the current military technology, may not even be
applicable. his argument crumbles in the face of the fact that the 7S did not claim
o#nership of both Clark and Subic and even paid rent to the %hilippines for their use, both
#ere still foreign military bases despite absence of foreign o#ners.
%resuming, ho#ever, that these supposed criteria are still valid today, the &agreed
locations' under EDCA #ill still fall in the category of a military base because it has !i" e6tra
territoriality !in fact 7S la#s and ;urisdiction apply in the base areas"D !ii" e6clusivity !the 7S
retains operational control and unimpeded access #hile the %hilippines cannot have access
#ithout their permission"D and !iii" o#nership !not only do they have operational control and
H
unimpeded access #hile the %hilippines do notF#hich means that the 7S, in essence,
e6ercise rights of o#nership, but the agreed locations and their facilities #ill only be turned
over to the %hilippines upon the discretion of the 7S in an indefinite time in the future.
In any case, as mentioned above, both Clark and Subic may not fulfill the criteria used
by government above, but they remain to be military bases. he same goes for the agreed
locations based on the follo#ing elementsC
I. Activities and Functions of a military base
)irstly, the functions of these &agreed locations' are functions of a base and the
activities conducted therein are those undertaken in military bases.
hese agreed locations as defined under EDCA itself fit the description of a military
base Fit #ill contain houses or barracks to accommodate troops that could run in the
thousandsD it contains #eapon armories, arsenals or silosD it has secure storage buildings for
prepositioned supplies and #ar materielD it has its o#n facilities for refueling, bunkering, and
repairing #arships or aircraftsD it has its o#n perimeter #all #hich #ill prohibit unauthori(ed
entryD it has its o#n telecommunication system and a communication centerD and is even a
launching pad or site for the deployment of troops and #ar materiel to other countries. In
fact, it even has a separate facility for its #ater, electricity and other utilities. All these #ill
be mainly constructed by &7S Contractors'.

he activities in these base areas are defined under Article III, %ar. -C
#ith consideration of the views of the Parties! the Philippines hereby
authori*es and agrees that United States forces! United States contractors!
and vehicles! vessels! and aircraft operated by or for United States forces may
conduct the following activities with respect to Agreed Locations+ training,
transit, support and related activities refueling of aircraft, bun-ering of
vessels, temporary maintenance of vehicles! vessels and aircraft, temporary
accommodation of personnel, communications, prepositioning of equipment,
supplies, and materiel, deploying forces and materiel, and such other
activities as the Parties may agree"
hese are the activities that are undertaken in a military base. he %hilippine
government ans#ers charges that the 7S is establishing bases here by saying that &no
permanent bases' are allo#ed by EDCA trying to mislead the people into thinking that
&permanence' is a definition of a base. his is akin to a &negative pregnant' statement #hen
one ans#ers the 4uestion if he killed %edro by saying that &no, I did not kill %edro on
Monday.' 7nder the government5s argument, #hich is the height of absurdity, Clark and
Subic #ill not be considered a &foreign military base' because they had a &temporary'
lifespan of only *3 years under the 7SAMilitary bases agreement. he truth is, military bases
could be permanent !such as a main operating base" or temporary, such as a logistics base, or
a for#ard operating baseFboth of #hich fit the nature of the 7S bases under EDCA.
he #ord &temporary' is a useless and irrelevant #ord in the above provision, and in
the entire EDCA for that matter, since they could define temporary to mean a fe# days, or a
fe# months, and even a fe# years. Even the presence of 7S soldiers deployed in Clark and
.
Subic can be deemed by the 7S as &temporary' since none of them intended to stay in the
country permanently as soldiers. he repetition of the #ord &temporary' in the EDCA is
merely intended to delude the )ilipinos into thinking that that the soldiers are merely visiting
because they are merely &rotational'. he 7S forces are here to stay, and they #ill stay if #e
allo# them to, that is a fact that the government cannot deny.
Additionally, EDCA allo#s the 7S to put up not ;ust temporary structures but even
permanent buildings and &nonArelocatable structures affi6ed to the land' as admitted by
EDCA itself under Article I2, %ar. .C
All buildings! nonrelocatable structures, and assemblies affi)ed to the land
in the Agreed Locations! including ones altered or improved by United States
forces! remain the property of the Philippines" !ermanent buildings
constructed by "nited #tates forces become the property of the Philippines!
once constructed! but shall be used by United States forces until no longer
re.uired by United States forces
It is note#orthy, that these buildings may be turned over to the %hilippines once the
7S discards them or no longer re4uires them, provided they may be sub;ect to compensation
for cost of construction or improvement made by the 7S forces, as provided under Article 2,
%ar. -.
$hen that &turnover' #ould be is not clear because under EDCA, the 7S is here to stay.
$orse, the 7S #ants complete control of the structures being built in their bases that
they demanded to be given operational control of these areas even before they construct their
base as provided under Article III, %ar. .C
'he Philippines hereby grants to the United States! through bilateral security
mechanisms! such as the /$0 and S10! operational control of Agreed
$ocations for construction activities and authority to underta-e such activities
on! and ma-e alterations and improvements to! Agreed Locations ) ) )"
%aragraph . simply means once the 7S starts constructing their buildings,
barracks, ammunition or fuel depot, storage for chemical #aste, or their intelligence
hubs and communication centers, it is the 7S that controls the construction or even
access to these areas. here is also no limitation as to #hat structures they can build.
hey could even build a golf course or a =ar for the recreation of their troops and the
%hilippines cannot intervene since this is covered under Art. III %ar. - as &support
and related activities'.
In fact, the 7S forces continue to oust the ;urisdiction of the %hilippines from the base
areas by reiterating their operational control over their prepositioned materiel. $e cannot
even monitor if they #ill bring in chemical or nuclear #eapons in these storage depots. Even
the supposed promise of sharing or moderni(ation of the A)% #here the 7S #ill share or give
their #eapons and other prepositioned materiel to the %hilippines is highly 4uestionable
because Article I2, %ar H of EDCA provides that it shall be only for the &e6clusive' use of
the 7S forcesC
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'he prepositioned materiel of United States forces shall be for the exclusive
use of United States forces! and full title to all such e.uipment! supplies! and
materiel remains %ith the "nited #tates" United States forces shall have
control over the access to and disposition of such prepositioned materiel and
shall have the unencumbered right to remove such prepositioned materiel at
any time from the territory of the Philippines
2apid $eployment orce
he &prepositioning of e.uipment! supplies and materiel' means that the 7S #ill be
stockpiling #eapons, ammunition, supplies and other materiel that #ill be used by their ships,
planes and troops abroad #hen needed or in case of #ar. It must be noted that among the
activities under %aragraph - is the &deployment of troops and materiel' #hich includes the
launching of military drones #hich have become, not ;ust surveillance planes, but deadly
#eapons of attack. his #ould mean that the %hilippines could be a launching pad for covert
or overt military operations abroad such as those undertaken in many other #ars that the 7S
are usually involved in. Even the mere refuelling of 7S planes in the %hilippines before they
attack their targets abroad, or the launching of drones, could be considered by enemies of the
7S as also an act of #ar on the part of the %hilippines. his not only drags us into #ars or
conflicts #hich #e have no reason to be involved in, but also makes the %hilippines a
legitimate target for attack by the many enemies of the 7nited States. he %hilippine
government, by allo#ing the insertion of these activities, has practically placed the country
and the )ilipino people in danger.
he main purpose of Article I2, %ar. H above, therefore, is not so much on the issue of
sharing 7S #ar materiel but their rapid deployment. he 7S forces #ants to ensure that
should a #ar erupt #ith for e6ample 0ussia or Syria, they can immediately deploy or dispatch
their #eapons and #ar materiel !at any time" #ithout any hindrance from the %hilippines.
his provision strengthens the assertion that the intention of these bases is not so much to
defend the %hilippines from Chinese intrusion in the $est %hilippine Sea but rather as a
for#ard position of the 7S military for their rapid deployment #hen they intervene or
conduct military operations in the Asian region. All of the above are in e6ercise of e6tra
territoriality, e6clusivity and o#nership.
$hat are the implications of EDCA %rovisions under Article III, %ar. - on the
activities to be conducted on the so called &agreed locations' I Devastating implications.
hese provisions violate Article II, Section ? of the Constitution #hich re4uires us to
chart an &independent foreign policy', as #ell as Section * #hich states that &'he Philippines
renounces war as an instrument of national policy! adopts the generally accepted principles
of international law as part of the law of the land and adheres to the policy of peace!
e.uality! 3ustice! freedom! cooperation! and amity with all nations' because it inordinately
opens the country5s involvement in #ar and is definitely not in consonance #ith the policy of
peace, cooperation and amity #ith all nations. 8eedless to say, if the 7S is charged #ith a
#ar crime or crimes against humanity in these #ars, the %hilippine government #ill also be
liable for these crimes as conspirators under the 0ome Statute of the International Criminal
Court as #ell as under 0epublic Act <+3- for violating international humanitarian la#.
@
:ne more reason #hy the agreed locations are 7S military bases is the fact that the
activities enumerated in Article III, %aragraph I include massive military activities such as
&refueling of aircraft! bun-ering of vessels! maintenance vessels and aircraft'. hese re4uire
large ports #ith the capacity to conduct repair and maintenance of huge 7S #arships, airports
capable of sustaining large and heavy 7S planes, and huge fuel depots capable of fueling
these huge ships and planes. hese massive activities cannot be undertaken or secured from
threats #ithout a base.
II. &efense perimeter to secure the base from perceived threats or access
Secondly, the agreed locations have a defined defense perimeter or #all #hich does
not allo# access to unauthori(ed persons, another element of a military base. In fact, the
EDCA grants the 7S the right to use force or any &appropriate measures' to defend the base
from perceived threats as provided under Article 2I, %ar. HC
United States forces are authori*ed to exercise all rights and authorities
within Agreed locations that are necessary for their operational control or
defense! including ta'ing appropriate measure to protect "nited #tates
forces and "nited #tates contractors
8ot contended #ith &operational control' over their military base, the 7S
further demanded that it shall be given the authority to e)ercise all rights and
authorities within the Agreed Locations' #hich clearly ousts %hilippine ;urisdiction
over these territories. his operational control and &e6ercise of rights and
authorities' fulfill the elements of e6clusivity, e6tra territoriality and o#nership.
Surely, the 7S #ill not allo# their armories, communication centers, intelligence hubs
and #ar materiel to be easily accessed by the )ilipinos. his provision actually allo#s them
to employ &appropriate measures' #hich includes arresting or shooting do#n any )ilipino
they perceive to threaten their &operational control or defense'. During the heydays of Subic
and Clark, 7S soldiers have been kno#n to shoot and kill children scavenging in their
garbage dumps on the prete6t that they thought the )ilipinos #ere #ild boars, thus the famous
&my brother is not a pig' line of 8ora Aunor in a movie portraying the vicious impact of 7S
bases in the country.
he 7S can prohibit anyone from even going to their perimeter fences including peace
advocates and anti bases rallyists #ho #ant to e6press condemnation of 7S military presence,
and the 7S can employ force on anyone on the claim that he or she constitutes a threat to the
7S forces or contractors. he %hilippine government has legitimi(ed in advance violations
by the 7S forces of the freedom of assembly and e6pression of the )ilipino people.
III. &enial of Access to the base areas %ithout the permission of "# forces
hirdly, )ilipinos, including commanding officers of the A)% are not allo#ed access
#ithout the permission of the 7S forces as provided under Article III, %ar. 3C
'he Philippine $esignated Authority and its authori*ed representative shall
have access to the entire area of the Agreed Locations" Such access shall be
?
provided promptly consistent %ith operational safety and security
requirements in accordance with agreed procedures developed by the
Parties"
Any access by the A)% or any )ilipino, therefore, cannot be allo#ed if the 7S forces
claim that it is not in consonance #ith their &operational safety and security re.uirements' to
allo# access. Just like any military base, one needs the permission of the 7S forces to be
allo#ed entry into their territoryFan e6ercise of e6tra territoriality, e6clusivity and
o#nership consistent #ith being a military base. Surely, the 7S forces #ill not allo#
)ilipinos to enter their intelligence center, communications hub, or even #here classified
#eapons are stored. 8o )ilipino therefore can enter these camps #ithout the permission of
the 7S. hat is not access at all.
$hile access by )ilipinos to the 7S bases are sub;ect to the permission of the 7S
forces, the 7S forces demanded under Article I2, %ar. . that the access of the 7S forces, and
even their contractors to these bases, must be &unimpeded' by the )ilipinosC
United States forces and United States contractors shall have unimpeded
access to Agreed Locations for all matters relating to the prepositioning and
storage of defense e.uipment! supplies! and materiel! including delivery!
management! inspection! use! maintenance! and removal of such e.uipment!
supplies and materiel
7nder %ar. ., any inspection or checkpoint search of the delivery or transport of their
#ar materiel, #eapons, and other defense e4uipment may be deemed by the 7S as an act that
&impedes' such delivery. his demand by the 7S of unimpeded access is based on their
perception that any inspection or monitoring of their supplies and #ar materiel could threaten
security. In fact, the 7S has never allo#ed the %hilippines to board their #arships and
inspect its supplies and armaments, including nuclear #eapons. his provision #ill definitely
make it difficult if not impossible for the %hilippines to monitor these &pre positioned' #ar
materiel and supplies. In fact, the 7S may even smuggle in a person sub;ect of rendition into
the country for interrogation #ithout the %hilippines ever finding out because of the re4uired
&unimpeded access'. In fact, they can smuggle goods #ithout the Customs or the =I0
kno#ing anything.
I(. )eturn of Agreed $ocations sub*ect to "# discretion
According to the %hilippine government, a supposed benefit from EDCA is the turn over
of 7S structures and facilities to the %hilippines. his is not entirely true because the
%hilippines has no control or discretion over their return to us and at #hat price or cost. In
fact, even the return of the Agreed 9ocation #ill only happen if the 7S &no longer re4uires'
these agreed locations. =ecause the locations are actually bases, #here the 7S sets up camp
and stores their #eaponry, and house their troops, and maintain their #arships and aircrafts,
the 7S #ants a guaranty of longer, if not permanent, stay or tenure as provided under
Article 2, %ar. *C
he 7nited States shall return to the %hilippines any Agree. )ocations, or
any portion thereof, including nonArelocatable structures and assemblies
+
constructed, modified, or improved by the 7nited States, once no longer
re2uire. 1y Unite. States forces for activities under this Agreement. he
%arties of the Designated Authorities shall consult regarding the terms of
return of any Agreed 9ocations, including possible co,pensation for
improvements or construction
his provision sho#s that, contrary to government pronouncements, there is
no guarantee of supposed benefits through the returned 7S facilities in these locations
becauseC !i" the agreed location #ill only be returned to the )ilipinos if the 7S deems
that they &no longer re4uire' or need these locationsD !ii" only the nonArelocatable
structures #ill be returnedD and !iii" the 7S can demand payment for the return of
these facilities or buildings. his practically ousts )ilipinos from the use of our o#n
territory and sub;ect our use of our o#n territory to the discretion or approval of the
7S forces.
$hile %ar. - under Art. 2 declares that the %hilippines &retain the title to the
Agreed Location' it is merely a meaningless symbolic title because the 7S has !i"
operational control over it including its buildings and facilitiesD !ii" )ilipinos have no
access over these #ithout the permission of the 7S, !iii" the 7S has operational
control over the construction, removal, and storage of anything #ithin the Agreed
9ocationsD and !iv" as provided under Article 2I %ar H the &US are authori*ed to
e)ercise all rights and authorities within the Agreed Locations'Fpractically ousting
the %hilippines from any ;urisdiction over these locations.
his is the reason #hy despite government pronouncements that these are not
bases, the facts sho# that they are indeed military basesFthe 7S controls it to the
e6clusion of the %hilippines, in fact practically o#ning it at the time they are using it,
they do not even pay rent if only as a token recognition of the %hilippine title over
these locations, and they have unimpeded access to it. 8ote that %ar. * allo#s the 7S
to demand compensation from the %hilippines should they return the facilities they
have built. he 7S could very #ell demand payment from the %hilippines for all the
buildings they #ill turn overFif ever they #ill decide to vacate it.
Due to the many benefits to the 7S of EDCA at a very minimal cost, ho#ever,
and considering that EDCA is actually a continuing agreement and not limited to -,
years, the 7S #ould strive not leave at all.
I,plications of other EDCA Provisions
Clearly, from the above provisions, the 7S #as allo#ed by the %hilippine government
to build military bases disguised under the term &agreed location', a clear violation of our
sovereignty. he other provisions of EDCA only further strengthens the lopsided agreement
in favor of the 7S forces and to the further disregard of the interest of the )ilipino people.
a" he claim of the %hilippine government that the EDCA prohibits nuclear #eapons
into the country under Article I2, %ar. @ of EDCA is a lie because said provision does
not provide so. %aragraph @ states that &+he prepositioned materiel shall not include
nuclear %eapons.
<
he A4uino administration publicly promised that the EDCA prohibits the
entry of nuclear #eapons into the country, perhaps underestimating the intelligence of
the )ilipino people into seeing through the supposed anti nuclear provision.
%aragraph @, ho#ever, not for #hat it says but for #hat it does not say, allo#s the
entry of nuclear #eapons, another case of play of #ords akin to a negative pregnant
statement.
It is a foregone conclusion that many 7S ships and aircrafts carry nuclear
#eapons, not to preposition them in a storage some#here, but as part of that ship5s or
aircraft5s #eaponry or nuclear strike capacity. %ar. @ in a devious play of #ords
declares that nuclear #eapons #ill not be included in the prepositioned materiel of the
7S, but it does not say that #arships or aircraft carrying nuclear #eapons are also
prohibited from entering the country. In fact, even if they store nuclear #eapons in
their prepositioned materiel, it #ill be difficult for the %hilippines to find out because
of Article I2, %ar. H and %ar. . above. Additionally, there #ill be no #ay for the
%hilippines to board 7S #arships to inspect it for nuclear #eapons.
Should the 7S go to #ar, the first targets of its enemies are definitely the
aircrafts or ships they suspect to carry nuclear #eapons, and the %hilippines becomes
a legitimate target of that attack. Additionally, should there be a nuclear accident in
the country, thousands could die since the %hilippine government, #hich does not
even have a nuclear containment plan, can never be capable of containing its effects.
his is one of the most serious dangers brought about by EDCA.
b" Article III, %aragraph H provides that the 7S )orces shall not pay any rent or similar
cost for their unlimited use, of unlimited territories, for an unlimited time.
here are t#o strange phenomena hereC
!i" $hile the 7S pays rent to the Japanese government, their enemy
during $orld $ar II, for their bases in Japan, the 7S refused to pay
rent to the %hilippine government, their ally during $orld $ar II, for
the same bases in the %hilippinesD
!ii" $hile the 7S previously paid rent to the %hilippine government for the
use of Clark and Subic bases under the 7SA0% Military =ases
Agreement, the 7S refused to pay for the use of their many bases
under the Enhance Defense Cooperation Agreement.
c" Another humiliating provision #hich discriminates in favor of the 7S forces is the
grant of a telecommunication system to the 7S including a range of radio spectrum
for free and e6empting them from paying ta6es and fees for their use of #ater,
electricity and other utilities as provided under Article 2IIC
'he Philippines hereby grants to United States forces and United States
contractors the use of %ater, electricity, and other public utilities on terms
and conditions! including rates or charges, no less favorable than those
available to the AF! or the ,overnment of the Philippines in li-e
-,
circumstances! less charges for taxes and similar fees, %hich %ill be for the
account of the !hilippine ,overnment" United States forces4 costs shall be
e.ual to their pro rata share of the use of such utilities"
'he Parties recogni*e that it may be necessary for the United States forces to
use the radio spectrum" 'he Philippines authori*es the United States to
operate its o%n telecommunication systems ) ) ) 'his include the right to
utili*e such means and services as re.uired to ensure the full ability to operate
telecommunication systems! and the right to use all necessary radio spectrum
allocated for this purpose" ) ) ) United States forces shall not interfere with
fre.uencies in use by local operators" Use of radio spectrum shall be free of
cost to the "nited #tates"
his is certainly an absurd and blatantly un;ust provision as it gives the 7S
better treatment than ordinary )ilipinos. hey #ill pay rates or fees lo#er than #hat
ordinary )ilipinos pay, in fact it may even be lo#er than that being paid by the A)%,
for the use of #ater, electricity and other utilities. Considering the massive activities
and operations in these bases and the thousands of troops present !including possible
recreational facilities", the volume of their usage of #ater and electricity #ould be
enormous. 8ot only #ill they be charged at a lesser price than most if not all
)ilipinos, they #ill contribute to the constriction of supply of electricity or #ater,
#hich in turn could contribute to the scarcity of supply for ordinary )ilipinos and also
increase the price of these utilities in the $ESM.
$orse, #hile ordinary )ilipinos labor under the 2A, and other ta6es and
fees, the ta6es of the 7S forces are paid for them, courtesy of the impoverished
)ilipino people. heir contractors #ho #ill heavily use electricity and #ater in their
construction #orks and other businesses, are also e6empted from paying ta6 and fees
for these usage because the government #ill be paying for these.
Despite these benefits, the 7S #ill only pay for their &pro rata share' or the
cost of the utilities they actually used. he entire EDCA is littered #ith %hilippines
subsidi(ing the 7S instead of the other #ay around as claimed by government.
he grant of an entire telecommunication system to the 7S forces, for free
only e6acerbates the lopsidedness of the EDCA.
he 7S is practically given a franchise to &operate its own telecommunication
systems' including the right to use all the necessary radio spectrum'Fall for free.
hey are allo#ed to e6propriate our air#aves, again for free, to the e6clusion of
)ilipinos #ho can no longer use such spectrum or band#idth, #hile the rest of the
country pay for availing themselves of the same.
EDCA further relin4uishes our sovereignty by taking out 7S forces,
contractors and &others' from the ;urisdiction of %hilippine ;udicial system, including
the Supreme Court under Article 1I
'he Parties agree to resolve any dispute arising under this Agreement
e)clusively through consultation between the Parties" &isputes and other
matters sub3ect to consultation under this Agreement shall not be referred to
--
any national or international court, tribunal, or other similar body! or to any
third party for settlement! unless otherwise agreed by the Parties"
.
his article practically ousts our ;udicial system from any ;urisdiction over many
issues pertaining to EDCA and these bases, and actually grants 7S forces and their
contractors immunity from the %hilippine ;ustice system. here are many possible disputes
that could &arise under this Agreement' such asC contract or labor dispute, destruction of
environment as a result of 7S activities, or spillage of to6ic chemicals. he 7S could very
#ell argue that Art. 1I takes a#ay the ;urisdiction of local courts over these issues or even
crimes that result from employing appropriate measures to protect US orces under Art.
2I. It may even insist that EDCA has ousted the International Criminal Court for acts
committed in the deployment of troops and materiel abroad or in the %hilippines.
d" he EDCA also gives preferential treatment to 7S Contractors. /o#ever, these
contractors are not only used for supplies and the construction of facilities but also for
security #ork
he EDCA is littered #ith provisions on &7S Contractors' #ho are supposedly civilians
doing business in the %hilippines. It allo#s activities of contractors and vehicles! vessels
and aircraft operated by or for the US forces' #hich do not officially constitute part of the
7S forces. In fact, the vehicles and aircrafts #ill not only be operated by US forces but
could also be operated &for the US' by a yet unidentified third party. he 7S has been kno#n
to hire contractors to distance themselves from accountability or liability for illegal acts
committed in their foreign deployments. here #ere reports that these contractors, some
identified as former CIA operatives and 7S Army mercenaries, are sometimes employed to
do illegal acts for the 7S such as rendition, torture and other human rights violations.
:ne such shady company called DynCorp has been in the %hilippines since *,,.
doing &security #ork' in Kamboanga. DynCorp as been implicated in the IranAContra
scandal and #as the sub;ect of a %ermanent %eoples ribunal complaint for human rights
violations in Colombia, =osnia, /aiti, 8icaragua and Afghanistan.
Another notorious 7S contractor is &=lack#ater 7SA' currently kno#n as
&Acadmi'. According to a C88 and Associated %ress report, they #ere involved in human
rights violations in Ira4C
Blac-3ater USA Banne. fro, Ira2 =y Matthe# /ar#ood !,<B-?B*,,?"
According to C88.com, =lack#ater 7SA has been thro#n out of Ira4C
Ira4Ls Interior Ministry has revoked the license of =lack#at#er 7SA, an
American security firm #hose contractors are blamed for a Sunday gunbattle
in =aghdad that left eight civilians dead. SundayLs firefight took place near
8usoor S4uare, an area that straddles the predominantly Sunni Arab
neighborhoods of Mansour and Marmouk.
In addition to the fatalities, -. people #ere #ounded, most of them civilians,
the official said. he incident started #hen a 7.S. State Department convoy
=lack#ater contractors #ere apparently protecting came under attack.
As the Associated %ress reportsC
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ens of thousands of foreign private security contractors #ork in Ira4 some
#ith automatic #eapons, body armor, helicopters and bulletproof vehicles to
provide protection for $esterners and dignitaries in Ira4 as the country has
plummeted to#ard anarchy and civil #ar.hese contractors are deeply
unpopular among Ira4i civilians because of their alleged militant posturing and
fren(ied driving throughout the cities of Ira4.
Met even if the =lack#ater contractors did indeed commit a crime, it is
4uestionable they #ill be held accountable. Due to a deal secured by the
7nited States #ith the Ira4i government, private security contractors cannot be
prosecuted for crimes they commit #hile in Ira4. And because they are not
techni4uely Nsoldiers,N they do not fall underneath the 7niform Code of
Military Justice.
e" he EDCA clearly aims to allo# the 7S a for#ard base for the prepositioning
of its troops, #eapons and other #ar materiel as provided under Article I2,
%ar. *C
'he Parties share recognition of the benefits that such prepositioning could
have for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief" 'he Parties also
recogni*e the value of such prepositioning to the enhancement of their
individual and collective defense capabilities"
$e must take note of the crafty #ay &humanitarian assistance and disaster
relief' #as inserted in %ar. * #hen it is merely a motherhood statement on the storage
of relief goods, #hich could be stored any#ay even #ithout an EDCA. It is the
second sentence ho#ever that is the main purpose of %ar. *Fthat the 7S can store
#eapons, ammunition and other #ar materiel and e4uipment in the agreed locations
on the ground that it is intended to &enhance' its defense capability. 8otice that the
EDCA does not prohibit the use of these prepositioned armaments in covert or overt
military operations in the %hilippines or abroad.
The Continuing Agree,ent
$hile the amended 7SA0% Military bases Agreement had an actual term,
#hich is terminated unless rene#ed, the EDCA has no definite term because it is
rene#ed unless terminated, thereby making the agreement a continuing agreement
under Article 1II, %ar. .C
'his Agreement shall have an initial term of ten years! and thereafter! it shall
continue in force automatically unless terminated by either Party by giving
one year-s %ritten notice through diplomatic channels of its intention to
terminate this Agreement
-H
he government inserted the &-, year' term, #ith the aim of deluding the
people that the 7S basing is temporary at a ma6imum of ten years. he EDCA,
ho#ever, is a continuing agreement and #ill only end if it is &terminated by either
party' and not because its term has e6pired.
=ecause it does not have a term, there is no mandatory re4uirement for its
revie# #ithin a certain period before it e6pires, nor does it re4uire renegotiation upon
the e6piry. he purpose of the 7S and the %hilippine government for the continuing
nature of EDCA is to avoid the controversy and the people5s outrage everytime
EDCA e6pires and has to be rene#ed. %res. A4uino learned a lesson #hen the 7S 0%
Military bases agreement, #hich has a term and a real e6piry period, #as not rene#ed
by the Senate due to the outrage of the )ilipino people. he provision allo#s for the
continuing agreement that may go unnoticed by the people.
Additionally, it re4uires one year notice if ever one party terminates EDCA. Should
the %hilippines #ish to regain control of certain &agreed locations', it #ill have to #ait for
one long year before it can access its very o#n territory. $hile ordinary rental re4uires a
month or t#o of notice, so as not to deprive the o#ner of the use of his property, the 7S
forces #ho do not even pay rent for their military bases in the agreed locations have the
lu6ury of using our territory for a year #ithout cost or rent.
)egal an. Constitutional I,plications
he EDCA is littered #ith provisions that violate a number of constitutional
provisions and re4uirements. Its grant of benefits to the 7S forces also violate a number of
%hilippine la#s and rules and regulations. he follo#ing constitutional provisions have been
violated by EDCAC
#4 5iolates Article I on &ational Territory for carving out a part or the 3hole of
the Philippine territory 1eyon. the sovereignty an. 6uris.iction of the
Philippines* Article I states that/
he national territory comprises the %hilippine archipelago, #ith all the islands and
#aters embraced therein, and all other territories over #hich the %hilippines has
sovereignty or ;urisdiction, consisting of its terrestrial, fluvial and aerial domains,
including its territorial sea, the seabed, the subsoil, the insular shelves, and other
submarine areas. he #aters around bet#een, the connecting the islands of the
archipelago, regardless of their breadth and dimensions, from part of the internal
#aters of the %hilippines.
!4 5iolates Article III Section # for allo3ing the prepositioning an. .eploy,ent of
troops an. 3ar ,ateriel 1y a foreign country to 1e use. in 3ars/
Section *. he %hilippines renounces #ar as an instrument of national policy, adopts
the generally accepted principles of international la# as part of the la# of the land and
adheres to the policy of peace, e4uality, ;ustice, freedom, cooperation, and amity #ith
all nations.
-.
74 5iolates Article III Section 7 for surren.ering instea. of securing the
sovereignty an. integrity of the national territory
Section H. Civilian authority is, at all times, supreme over the military. he Armed
)orces of the %hilippines is the protector of the people and the State. Its goal is to
secure the sovereignty of the State and the integrity of the national territory.
$4 5iolates Article III Section 7 for .isregar.ing national sovereignty national
interest an. the re2uire,ent of an in.epen.ent foreign policy/
Section ?. he State shall pursue an independent foreign policy. In its relations #ith
other states the paramount consideration shall be national sovereignty, territorial
integrity, national interest, and the right to selfA determination.
84 5iolates Article III Section 9 for allo3ing the entry of nuclear 3eapons an.
surren.ering its authority to ,onitor an. chec- 3hether a foreign 3arship or
aircraft carries nuclear 3eapons its failure
Section +. he %hilippines, consistent #ith the national interest, adopts and pursues a
policy of freedom from nuclear #eapons in its territory.

:4 5iolates Article III Section ## for violating the people;s right to access to courts
for ta-ing out fro, the 6uris.iction of the Philippine 6u.iciary .isputes vaguely
.escri1e. as <arising un.er the agree,ent=/
Section --. )ree access to the courts and 4uasiA;udicial bodies and ade4uate legal
assistance shall not be denied to any person by reason of poverty.
74 5iolates Article 5I Section !9 >$4 for allo3ing the US forces to use pu1lic
utilities 3ithout paying ta?es an. other fees/
Sec. *+ 8o la# granting any ta6 e6emption shall be passed #ithout the concurrence of
a ma;ority of all the Members of the Congress.
94 5iolates Article 5II Section !# for refusing to su1,it the EDCA to the Senate
for its concurrence in the ratification/
Section *-. 8o treaty or international agreement shall be valid and effective unless
concurred in by at least t#oAthirds of all the Members of the Senate.
@4 5iolates Article 5III Section # for carving out fro, the 6uris.iction of the
Supre,e Court an. the entire 6u.icial syste, the ,any .isputes that ,ay arise
out of acts or any a1use of the US forces in the e?ecution of the agree,ent/
Section -. he ;udicial po#er shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such lo#er
courts as may be established by la#. Judicial po#er includes the duty of the courts of
;ustice to settle actual controversies involving rights #hich are legally demandable
and enforceable, and to determine #hether or not there has been a grave abuse of
-3
discretion amounting to lack or e6cess of ;urisdiction on the part of any branch or
instrumentality of the Government.
#"4 5iolates Article AI Section # for the unpatriotic acts of the govern,ent
negotiators in forging an agree,ent that is clearly .isa.vantageous to the
Bilipino people/
Section -. %ublic office is a public trust. %ublic officers and employees must at all
times be accountable to the people, serve them #ith utmost responsibility, integrity,
loyalty, and efficiencyD act #ith patriotism and ;ustice, and lead modest lives.
##4 5iolates Article A5III Section !8 for allo3ing the entry of foreign troops 1ases
an. facilities 3ithout a treaty 3hose effectivity is su16ect to the >i4 role of the
Senate to concur in the ratificationC an. >ii4 the role of 1oth Douses of Congress
to .eci.e 3hether or not to call for a national referen.u, to approve the sa,e/
Section *3. After the e6piration in -<<- of the Agreement bet#een the 0epublic of
the %hilippines and the 7nited States of America concerning Military =ases, foreign
military bases, troops, or facilities shall not be allo#ed in the %hilippines e6cept under
a treaty duly concurred in by the Senate and, #hen the Congress so re4uires, ratified
by a ma;ority of the votes cast by the people in a national referendum held for that
purpose, and recogni(ed as a treaty by the other contracting State.
5iolations of 5arious Philippine la3s
he EDCA also violates many %hilippine la#s including their implementing rules and
regulationsC
!a" he 9ocal Government Code for allo#ing 7S forces to use the lands and facilities of
the 9G7s and allo#ing access #ithout consultation or approval of the 9G7s.
!b" 0A <-+. and the Government %rocurement Act for contracting out public property
such as lands and buildings to the 7S forces.
!c" 2iolating various %hilippine la#s #hich grants inspection po#ers and police po#ers
to government agencies, by relin4uishing this po#er and duty to the discretion of 7S
forces in their agreed locations. It also violates the e6tra territoriality principle as to
situs of immovable property or land.
!d" 2iolates various la#s on public utilities such as the 8ational elecom Charter,
%ilferage Acts as to #ater and electricity.
!e" 2iolates environmental la#s for surrendering its po#er to enforce environmental
standards. EDCA, #hile it discusses environmental issues, did not even provide for
compensation or damages for destruction by 7S forces of the environment. $e have
a concrete e6perience on this issue #ith the 7S refusal to pay compensation for the
-@
damage of our ubattaha reef. he 7S forces could insists that disputes such as these
our outside the ;urisdiction of %hilippine ;udiciary as provided in EDCA.
:ne last #ord on the provisions of EDCAC there #as no mention at all of China, or
Spratlys, or Scarborough Shoal or Ayungin in the entire EDCA.
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