US, Philippines Come Together on Base Access

Amid rising concern over China’s assertiveness in disputed waters of the South China Sea, the Philippines reached a tentative agreement with the United States to allow greater access for US forces to Philippine military bases, reported Reuters. The deal would allow for the sharing of “defined areas within certain [Philippine armed forces] facilities with elements of the US military, on a rotational basis, within parameters consistent with the Philippine constitution,” said Pio Lorenzo Batino, Philippine defense undersecretary, during a March 14 press conference in Manila, according to the news service. The two countries aim to finalize the agreement in April when President Obamas is scheduled to visit Manila. It will require the Philippine senate’s blessing, states the report. The agreement reportedly would allow US forces access to facilities in the country, such as the former Clark Air Base, as well as bases in Palawan, Cebu, Nueva Ecija, and other locales. Batino said the agreement takes into account the Philippines’ historical experiences, laws, and desire for “non-permanence of US troops.”