Defense chief denies plan to build new bases in Subic
Camille Diola (The Philippine Star) - June 27, 2013 - 4:05pm

MANILA, Philippines - Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin on Thursday denied that there is a plan to build new air and naval bases at Subic Bay in Zambales.

"Let me clarify issues, we're not going to construct bases, we will be accepting access," Gazmin said in a press conference Thursday.

Reports said that the military is seeking President Benigno Aquino III's approval on its P10-billion base development plan.

Gazmin said that an agreement for the "access" of foreign military forces to the military bases in Subic is still being crafted.

"Right now the agreement has not been firmed up, we are in crafting the agreement based on our constitution and the Visiting Forces Agreement," Gazmin said.

He said in particular that the United States will be allowed to bring equipment into the Philippines once the agreement has been finalized.

"After that is done then we will be allowing if and when there is agreement on the access then there will be equipment coming in from the United States," he said.

He added that Japan would also be allowed by the Philippines to bring its equipment in the bases. Japan is also locked in a territorial dispute with China.

Subic Bay, formerly a US naval base, is near the disputed territories in the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea). The nearest disputed territory in Subic Bay is the Panatag Shoal, which is now under China's de facto rule as its ships have imposed restrictions around the territory.

AGREEMENT DEFENSE SECRETARY VOLTAIRE GAZMIN GAZMIN PANATAG SHOAL PRESIDENT BENIGNO AQUINO SOUTH CHINA SEA SUBIC BAY UNITED STATES VISITING FORCES AGREEMENT WEST PHILIPPINE SEA
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