Inquirer.net: U.S. Military Return to Subic Bay Unlikely

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Guam – There is “strong opposition” amongst local Subic Bay and business leaders in central Luzon to any return of the U.S. military, according to a report today [Friday] on Inquirer.net.

Notwithstanding a report yesterday in the Inquirer which quoted Olongapo Mayor James Gordon Jr. as saying that he would “welcome” a return of U.S. Forces, the Philippine paper’s website today quotes various Philippine business leaders who oppose it.

Read the report on Inquirer.net

Talk of a return of the U.S. military to Subic Bay was sparked a Tuesday visit to the Freeport by 2 U.S. Senators, Hawaii Senator Daniel Inouye and Thad Cochran of Mississippi.

Yesterday, the Inquirer quoted un-named sources as saying that Senators Inouye and Cochran “appeared to be interested in the possibility of an increased presence of the US military [in Subic Bay]  … they were curious about the reception in the [Philippines] of an [increased presence of the US military] here.”

Today the paper reports that Subic Bay Freeport Chamber President Danny Piano doesn’t think a return of the US military is practical given the unique mix of barriers and challenges in the way.

Piano, who worked inside the former American-run naval base for more than 10 years, told the paper that he is “quite certain that they won’t be able to replicate that kind of operation …  considering that the bulk of available spaces [in the Freeport] is now occupied by businesses.”

The paper also quotes a source in the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority as saying that the visit “should not be blown out of proportion,”  and that the idea the return of the US military to the Freeport was “based on speculation.”

Piano, who had worked inside the former American-run naval base for more than 10 years, said he was familiar with the extent of US Navy operations, “especially when it comes to military support services.”

“I am quite certain that they won’t be able to replicate that kind of operation, even a scaled-down version of its former self, considering that the bulk of available spaces [in the freeport] is now occupied by businesses,” he said.