Constitutional Panel Proposes Banning U.S. Bases After 1991
MANILA, Philippines (AP) _ A committee of the panel writing a new constitution has approved a resolution that would prohibit foreign bases after the current agreement on U.S. facilities expires in 1991.
Felicitas Aquino, head of the committee that passed the resolution Thursday, said she expects ″a hard fight on the floor″ when it goes to the full 48-member Constitutional Commission.
President Corazon Aquino has said she will respect the current agreement covering America’s Clark Air Base and Subic Naval Base, but is keeping her options open beyond 1991. She and Felicitas Aquino are not related.
The resolution states: ″Subject to existing international agreements, foreign military bases, troops or facilities shall be forbidden in the Philippine national territory, nor shall nuclear weapons or part thereof be allowed therein.″ It passed with a 6-2 vote in the 10-member committee on national territory. Two members were absent.
Under the Constitutional Commission procedures, resolutions approved by committees go to the full body for debate. Those accepted become part of the final document, which is expected to be submitted to a national plebiscite sometime next year.
Committee member Decoroso Rosales, who voted against the resolution, said: ″Filipinos are still pro-American. Whether we like it or not, we have to be practical.″
Another member, Lino Brocka, disagreed, telling the committee: ″Where did being practical get us? When U.S. bases were allowed in 1946, the attitude of the Americans was that we are suckers. We are fighting for the future. The issue should be what is good for the people.″
Those who support the bases agree with the United States that they are vital for security and in maintaining a balance of power in the region. Opponents say they would make the Philippines a likely target of nuclear attack in a war between the United States and Soviet Union.