Maria Fatima R. Vitug
April 30, 2014
Professor Juned Sonido (STS)
Forum on US Militarism and its Impacts on the Philippine Environment
President Barack Obama’s trip in Asia is a way for him to strengthen the military forces of the United States of America. Aside from the Philippines, the President also visited Japan, South Korea and Malaysia. His military pact to the Philippines is what Evan Medeiros, the Senior US National Security Council (NSC) official, would define as “the most significant defense agreement that we have concluded with the Philippines for decades”. This military pact is called the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA). According to the news, the US particularly aimed to have military pacts with the said countries because they want to promote peace and stability to countries, which are disconcerted by China’s attempt of claiming disputed territories. On the other hand, there is news circulating that Obama’s trip is mainly towards their country’s betterment. It is said that the military pacts would enable Obama to make economic and strategic moves in the goal of subordinating China.
Obama’s military pact with the Philippines is a big responsibility since there can be a lot of things, both positive and negative, that can happen when the Philippines should agree to this allegiance. The main benefit of this allegiance is the acquirement of more military power for the country that will help for better defense against invaders. However, signing this military pact would not allow the country to impose its laws to the visiting force. For example, according to the constitution, nuclear weapons are banned in the Philippines but there is no assurance whether the US would not use these weapons. Thus, the presence of the US military force threatens to impart environmental and social problems.
The forum on the US Militarism and its Impacts on the Philippine Environment mainly focuses on the environmental effects that could happen to the country caused by the presence of the US military. Mr. Giovanni Tapang, Ph. D., talked about how the environment will be at risk with the agreement on allegiance with the US. He illustrated how the Japanese citizens were affected by the many aircrafts hovering just above the central region of living, work and education. Japan was able to persuade the US military force to transfer somewhere else but the region they chose was the habitat of the endangered Okinawa dugongs. According to National Geographic, scientists believe that only 50 remain from this specie. Dr. Tapang also informed the audience on the Status of Foreign Agreement (SOFA) which discharges the visiting force from doing any action towards the damage they may have caused. This leaves the home country to be liable to what the visiting force has done.
Being informed by these things and all, I am very sad to hear that the Philippines has accepted the offer of the US. I feel like that there has not been adequate time for the leaders of the country to think on whether to accept or not the commitment on being their ally. It is a very big responsibility and entails a lot of risks that could affect the environment and the lives of Filipinos. Whether the results of their presence are good or bad, the effects of having the US military force in the country could be permanent.
Roach, John. Rare Japanese Dugong Threatened by U.S. Military Base. National Geographic News, 2007. Web. 30 April 2014.
Superville, Darlene. "Obama headed home after 4-country Asia tour." Yahoo News. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Apr. 2014.
Symonds, Peter. "The US to sign major military pact with the Philippines - World Socialist Web Site." World Socialist Web Site - Marxist analysis, international working class struggles & the fight for socialism. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Apr. 2014.
"Reject Renewed US Militarism in the Philippines Petition." GoPetition. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 May 2014.