It has come! There’s no question about it! What has been feared would happen is now happening. And happening fast! It’s like the US and Philippine authorities are making up for lost time. And so we witness a scenario akin to “a scampering for space” in military camps all over the country! Here and there, this and that AFP officer is offering a space within a military camp for use as military base for American soldiers. There’s no feeling of restraint or hesitation—or shame!— no different from an offer of a booth space in a carnival fair!
The American soldiers might as well sing “A time to be sowing; a time to be reaping; the green leaves of summer are calling me home” And ‘home’ is the military base—a home away from home—slavishly proffered and specially prepared by the Philippine Government for American soldiers, and no other else. And Philippine officials, chiefly President Noynoy Aquino himself, cheerily wag their celebratory tails, in shameless obeisance to their masters who are coming home to their military bases on Philippine soil.
“Ah, but the camps where these supposed military bases are situated are owned by the Philippine Republic”, the AFP Camp commander would insist. Yessiree, the AFP camp no doubt is owned by the Philippines. But the military base of the US troops within the camp is for the “exclusive use” of the American military officials and soldiers! Nothing can prevent them from installing and using whatever facility they deem necessary and useful for their military operations hereabouts.
And those are not even brave words uttered by the Philippine military officials with respect to the nature of existence of these ‘virtual US military bases’. The manner of utterance is all at once tainted with slavish deference —oh no, “canine devotion”—to the US!
And lo and behold the dogged enthusiasm with which business establishments have soon sprouted, including—and especially including!—entertainment houses, reminiscent of Subic and Clark US Bases during those GI Joe halcyon days! Not very far ahead would be an incident of a Filipino being shot by an American soldier for being mistaken as a boar.
If this is not an ignominious sell-out of Philippine sovereignty, ambot! What the term “sovereignty” is supposed to mean. Perhaps, President Noynoy and the Filipino military lapdogs of US imperialism are a rare species of global androids, they can licentiously distort the significance of time-honored principle of political sovereignty.
Perhaps, President Noynoy is such a political savant on international affairs he can disregard the wisdom of Senator Jovito Salonga and the rest of the Senators who rendered the salutary coup de main that removed US military bases from the Philippine, with the injunction to “never again allow foreign troops any basing right or privilege on Philippine territory”? Oh, they must be gravely appalled by these current developments and deeply insulted by this charlatan act of President Noynoy hoisted against their name and the Filipino nation!
It was about this time during the time of President Cory Aquino’s incumbency when Mt. Pinatubo exhibited its anger sending tremors in rhythm with the heart throbs of the nationalist Senators who drove away the American troops from Subic and Clark. It was a time for explosive metaphors in poetry as well. I recall having written—
ug ang mga sundalong ugis
mas tulin pa kay sa lahar
nanglayas sa mga base militar
didto sa Subic ug Clark
[and the soldiers albino as they are
flee even more swiftly than lahar
from the US bases at Subic and Clark]
One could only wish: Would that there were equally nationalistic Senators now in our current Congress who can similarly render by a stroke of their hand to nullify this obnoxious Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement [EDCA] under this puppet Noynoy government!