07 May 2014

SBMA approves military bases inside Freeport

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) has approved a resolution allowing the Philippine Air Force (PAF) and the Philippine Navy (PN) to set-up partial military bases inside the Freeport, SBMA Chairman Roberto Garcia announced on Monday.

PAF is planning to house about 25 fighter jets from South Korea in the Fedex area adjacent to the Subic Bay International Airport while the Philippine Navy is asking for the area encompassing the Alava Pier and the Juliet and Rivera wharfs where two naval cutter will be home ported.

With the ongoing Balikatan exercises between United States and Filipino forces and the newly-approved Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), the planned air and naval bases inside the Subic Freeport zone will naturally also be used by American troops.

“We have to stress here that these are Philippine bases not American bases,” Garcia pointed out.

With regards to EDCA, the Garcia said that this is still being worked out. “Materials and supplies pwede siguro dito,” he said.

Garcia said the SBMA board has approved in principle the setting-up of the two bases for the PAF and PN “in the interest of national security.”

“But I have requested that locators be allowed to continue with their operation,” he said.

Two US C-130 planes were spotted at the Subic Bay International Airport while some American sea vessels were seen at the Alava Pier and near the Rivera and Juliet wharfs of the former American naval base.

Garcia said that the airplanes are part of the Balikatan. (Ernie B. Esconde, Manila Times)