May 27, 2024

24 thoughts on “American Troops in the Philippines

  1. UJ- I skipped the lines when I agreed that the PH government is currently on the right tract for not allowing foreigners to own land except by marriage to a PH citizen. When the PH government reverse its course, it will be gone as fast as the lightning, considering the size of the PH and the numbers of foreigners with the purchasing powers on their hands. Then, you will see Filipinos displaced in their homeland.

    1. “”Then, you will see Filipinos displaced in their homeland.””

      Leona. A very understandable concern and a normal Nationalistic sentiment. I remember in the 70’s folk in the USA were up in arms about the Japanese buying all the land that was available. In the 80’s and early 90’s is was buyers from the middle east, next it was the Russians. Point of this is foreign investors/property owners have no interest in “taking over” the Philippines. They are interested in making money and return on their investments. That and look at the other benefits? Let us say a German firm buys a beach resort in Batangas? They are going to want to make money from that, so they will upgrade the resort (jobs for locals) make sure that customers can get there comfortably so possibly improve the roads in the area (infrastructure) staff it properly (jobs) maintain it to a high level so people come (jobs) and once it is up and running and very profitable possibly even sell it to a rich Filipino (example Rockefeller center). But large amounts of foreign investment (in my view) wont come as long as the risk to the investor is to high to justify it. (just my opinions 😉 )

  2. Hi UJ- Unlike Radio Babylon, I don’t find it distasteful to have American presence in my home country. I believe the majority of the Filipino people feel the same though, they may not be vocal or lacking access to media. You nailed it again when you and other commentates mentioned that there might be a gain promised or some sort and other hidden agenda by the protesters or they are outright deceived through brainwashing. Like the saying goes–the pasture is always greener on the other side of the fence. UJ, without the presence of American Military and other allies, the Philippines is for the taking by China, Russia and other countries interested to annex my country to theirs. However,(maybe off the subject here) I am on the government side when it comes to foreigner not allowed to own land except through marriage to a citizen. Because of the exponential monetary exchange rate and its purchasing power not only on the American dollars, but other countries as well, the Philippines which is slightly larger than the State of Arizona may be inhabited mostly by foreigners someday. That will be truly sad for Filipinos once they save up to find themselves no hope to own a land especially true for the OFWs. I can see this happening, b/c like the USA some politicians are greedy and some of the voters are downright brainwashed, deceived or too dead tired so search the answers to the simple question –What is RIGHT and WRONG; and at the end we may just all agree that it is SIGNS OF TIMES.

  3. Well UJ. Mr. Babylon’s reaction was what I expected. I thought your post and responses were polite, well thought out and from the heart. Just a request to explain something to you that you were questioning. It provoked the visceral response.

    First of all, like you, I have yet to meet a Filipino here that is opposed to the USA resuming some type of military presence here. Not bases run by the USA. Not a permanent installation such as were located here in the past. But joint exercises for training and coordination. In fact the Filipinos I personally know regret the decision to ask the Americans to leave.

    Secondly, Just like in the states or pretty much else where very small groups of protesters get a lot of press. If a fringe group has 25 members in front of the American Embassy it will make the news. I don’t believe that the Majority of Filipinos agree with them (I point to the protesters that always protest the World Trade Meetings, no matter where they are held there are riots in the streets of that city)

    As to why some Filipinos feel so strongly about Bases or even presence of the American military here? Yes, I believe that it has a lot to do with 400 years of colonialism, 100 years of military occupation and the Americans behind the scene pulling the strings. A lot has to do with pride also IMHO. They want the chance to “do it on their own!” I believe it Quezon who was attributed as staying “I prefer a government run like hell by Filipinos to a government run like heaven by Americans.” I for one feel that it is their national destiny to run the country the way they see fit. If they want American help let them ask for it.

    Having said that, American help comes at a price. Folks need to realize, that the business of America is business. If helping the Philippines is in the interest of America, they will help, if not? Well good luck.

    I am continually asked if the USA will come to the defense of the Philippines if China actually removed those Marines on that old LST. Or if we would actually fight to stop Chinese expansion in the disputed shoals. My answer is NO!. Now in my opinion if China actually landed troops in Batanes or and invasion fleet showed up of the coast of Panay, the USA would be there with the might of Gods fury. The USA will not go to war over a bunch of unoccupied islands. As an example I point to the first Gulf War. If Sadam Hussien when he invaded Kuwait had stopped at the oil fields America would have ranted and raved but done basically nothing. When he took over Kuwait city, that was the straw that broke the camels back. (I know, I have seen the Operation Order regarding this). In fact I believe the USA is secretly hoping the Chinese develop the natural resources there. If you remember that the “business of America is Business” the states just wants the resources developed so they can buy them. They don’t care who.

    But the bottom line fact is that America does not NEED or WANT bases in the Philippines. The advances in weaponry and logistics basically makes bases here redundant. What America does want is to train with the Philippine Armed Forces (like they do with countries all over the world) as a show of force to the Chinese. I would caution though that if the Filipinos protest to much, there are other countries that the USA can assist.

    UJ if this is to inflammable please just delete it.

    1. Nice words there Scott. I have noticed that when there are protesters anywhere, the press likes to be there and make a big deal of it. I suppose there must be some Filipinos somewhere that are totally against the US being here, but as you said, we have not met one yet. I wonder if any expat reading this even knows one.
      The Philippines has been trying to run itself since like 1992 basically. They are not doing such a great job, especially with so many corrupt officials still in place. There is still rampant vote buying going on and government offices controlled by certain families. I’m not saying that all these families are bad, but some are. Vote buying is definitely bad, except I was told by a relative of a politician that if you don’t buy votes, you can not get into office. Many of the people, mostly the poor ones, expect that vote buying money. Anyway, the point is, the government is not getting better. I don’t think that the Americans should have anything to do with the way the Philippine government is run anyway.
      I normally would agree with what you say about the US and when/if they will fight China. With the current administration in Washington, I’m not so sure though. Seems to me that things are not so perfect around there these past few years.
      Does the US WANT or NEED to be in the Philippines. NEED no. Want maybe. At least I’m sure that some want it. For me I think I’d like for us to have a permanent, temporary presence. What I mean by that is that the US troops could be constantly changed. I guess I’m talking about like making it a 1 year remote tour place. Although it would not really be a remote, they could treat it like one in that sense.
      One thing I really think should be standard is that thing I talked about in my other comment. Any major crimes committed by US personnel while here should mean they are turned over to the Philippine authorities immediately. Minor crimes can be worked out between the US/Philippine officials. If the US is going to be here, temporary or permanent, then there should be US lawyers that are up to speed on the laws of the Philippines. Lawyers that will be able to at least defend any service members in court. Bottom line though. If a US service person is found guilty of a crime in the Philippines, then it should be Philippine jail/punishment for them. Maybe that is opening another can of worms, but that’s what I believe.

      1. Lets examine a couple of these points UJ.

        Does the US WANT or NEED to be in the Philippines. NEED no.

        The US neither wants or needs permanent bases in the Philippines. It is all about force projection. In fact the 3rd Marine Division is in the process of moving from Okinawa to Guam. The Bases along the DMZ in Korea have all been reduced in size and moved south of the HAN river. What the US does want is the ability to move in troops fast, train for a week or so and move on. This MIGHT require a ware house or two to store equipment used for training. The fact is that most Major training exercises are done at the staff level. Computer exercises that train battalion commanders and above. The term used for these are “Warfighters”. You and I both remember the yearly exercises in Korea, (cant recall the name right now) Huge numbers of men and materiel running around for 3 weeks. Those are a thing of the past. Now its all done on computer screens. Oh there are still a few troops running around getting dirty but not like it was 20 years ago.

        Any major crimes committed by US personnel while here should mean they are turned over to the Philippine authorities immediately.

        That my friend will NEVER happen. In fact that is one of the biggest reasons we pulled out of Iraq as completely as we did. A SOFA agreement could not be reached. One of the major tenants of the American fighting man (and women) is that we take care of our own. American protection comes at a price, and that is one that is a deal breaker. Until a country can prove beyond a shadow of doubt that its legal system is up to the standard that America expects, they will never, ever hand over an American service member until they are proven guilty.

        1. Okay, let’s re-examine those points Scott.

          You could be right on this one, you seem to have more information than I do. However I still believe that some WANT to be here. It may never happen, but there are still those that WANT to be here. I would like for the US to be here, but that is mostly for personal reasons only and I know that no one in Washington cares about that and such a move can not be based on anyone’s personal feelings.

          Those exercises are done on computers now? Seems like a bad move to me, but I guess if they can make them realistic enough and the people can make their minds relate that to real life when/if they need it, then I guess it’s okay. Seems that actually going through it is still best, although I’m sure less likely for injuries on a computer screen.

          As for US personnel committing crimes and being handed over to the host country, well I suppose I’m wrong on that. Although I was talking only of the Philippines, I guess it is good to be sure that they are guilty before completely turning them over to a foreign country. That is ‘being detained’ by the US only though. If found guilty and after any appeals, then it off to the host country for judgement.

          People, military or not, need to take responsibility for their own actions.

          1. Who wants to be here? The Filipinos? Oh you bet. Most Filipinos I know always tell me that one of the worst mistakes they made was telling the US to get out. They miss the jobs and the dollars they brought in. But then again everyone everywhere always looks back to the “good ole days”

            What the USA Wants? They want basing “facilities” Places to refuel and resupply. If the USA ever gets those again I predict the actual permanent military presence will be minimal. A small liaison staff but will be run basically by civilian contract employees. Just like Diego Garcia and all the US Naval ships (like the hospital ship that just visited. That technically isn’t a Navy ship, but a vessel in the United States Naval service, like the tankers and oilers that service the fleet)

            Now the computer exercises? It makes sense if you think about it. When you were in the AF you could practice fixing an F16 there in Kadena or Andrews just as well as shipping you all the way to clark for two weeks. Same thing for combat troops. They can learn to be miserable digging a fox hole in fort bliss and save the expense of shipping them all the way to Batangas to dig up the ground lolol. Where wars are won and lost are getting those troops and planes to the right place at the right time equipped, rested and ready to fight. That takes staff work and leadership decisions. All those decisions are made in a tent someplace with computer generated maps and digital uplinks. That’s what they practice now. When they practice with allies, the allies are given a tent and gear and learn what to expect when working with the American military. Our terms, our graphics our coordination measures. When desert storm kicked of and then the invasion of Iraq the staffs ran those battles virtually over and over till everyone from company commander on up knew exactly what was planned.

            The legal thing? Naturally we are talking about Pemberton. Until he is found guilty by a the host country court of law and the USA determines that it was not a railroad job. (the main reason why the US wont turn its people over isn’t that they don’t trust the Philippine system, its that the system takes so long, Hence the 1 year limit) He will be discharged from the USMC with a dishonorable discharge for conduct unbecoming. And then MR. PEMBERTON will be turned over to the Philippine justice system. I have seen this happen many times.

          2. Well I’ll admit that I long for “the good ole days”.
            If the presence is minimum, that’s okay with me. Like I said, I mostly want the US here for personal reasons. I want a commissary, BX, clinic and Space A. Even if they are small, that’s okay, just as long as they are active.
            I guess computer technology is way beyond me these days. It’s moving too fast for me to keep up. Frankly it doesn’t bother me that much, as long as the troops are trained properly. I suppose it does save quite a bit of time and money to have it all computer generated.
            As for the ‘legal thing’, what you say is all agreeable. I wasn’t exactly talking about that case, but it’s a good example, and probably one that will be repeated, at least similar to. After you explained the reasoning in your last comment, I see the wisdom in keeping a US citizen in US custody until the trial. My concern is US citizens coming here and being bad ambassadors for the US. We have enough people that hate us now because the US reputation is not the best around the world. Of course it seems that when we do good, you don’t hear about it, or you don’t hear about it for very long. The bad stuff just lingers. The US haters just spread the bad stuff and not the good stuff.

          3. I must admit that I’m not surprised that the Army went to computerized training for field grade commanders but it is also one of the stupidest decisions of all time IF they aren’t still putting the Infantry in the woods. I don’t mean just “a few of them running around getting dirty” for a week or so. If that’s the way they’re “training” now it’s ridiculous.

            Flag staff officers ARE NOT the war fighters…we grunts are/were. You guessed it, I was a grunt. I spent over 31 months, both overseas and back at home with the 101st Airborne, starting in the early 70’s. I joined, I wasn’t drafted.

            Grunts need to learn and train also, not just tactics, land nav. and trip wires, and a million other tactical things but how to deal with just BEING in the bush. They need to learn how to cope with being so hot that their brains feel like they’re frying, freezing cold, soaking wet, muddy, filthy, fungus growing on their bodies, hunger, dying of thirst, sickness, and every other form of misery that was ever created. How to deal with utter and overwhelming exhaustion from little water, less food and NO sleep for two, three, or four days on end. New officers constantly getting lost because they can’t even read a military map. Grunts need their ass in the grass, down in the mud and the blood, not for a week, or two, or three, but for 2 or 3 months on end. Because war is WORSE. I am disgusted at what the military has become and they are letting these REAL war fighters down by not training them properly.

            There was a reason for Reforger ever year. A period in the spring when the US sent at least one Division, most times two or three to Germany from the US and alerted two, three, sometimes four Divisions that were already in Germany. Our excuse was the same as the Soviet Union’s………War Games. That’s when they (the Soviets) would send between 12 and 18 Armored Divisions into Poland…to train. We did the same thing, in name only, knowing that it is much faster to switch from blanks to live rounds, if they crossed the border, than it is to alert and mobilize whatever it would take to delay them until the ‘cavalry’ got there.

            I don’t know enough about the Philippines to even offer an opinion on the other things, but thanks for letting me rant because of this computer training BS. Hopefully be there in about 13 months and hope to NEVER come back here.

          4. Ranting is good most of the time. I’m sure that you will find that many people share your opinion on this subject. I also can not see them giving up real life experience for a computer generation.

  4. I’m younger than most expats I meet in the Philippines. For me, It was a total life changing event visiting the Philippines. I knew after I first arrived I had found my place in life. My first time visiting I spent two years. All my friends and family were dumbfounded that I would do such a thing, lol. For myself, I never really enjoyed growing up in the US. I never felt a sense that I fit in and everyone is so self absorbed. America has problems culturally and spiritually (in my opinion). I would even say the Philippines saved my life. Not to sound sappy, just that I was in a bad place in life before I was renewed in the lovely Philippines. I don’t want to digressing too much, so I’ll make my point. Seems to me I always read about how expats wish they could make this more American, or that maybe they would like to make things more this way or that. They wish they could probably have a Madison Ave, or Hollywood right in central Luzon, lol. But I say… that’s what you had in America… and here you are in the PHL enjoying being away from that. I know at least I am! But, I do understand to a certain point things in the Philippines are a little cocked up and sometimes plain backwards. For me,… I would NEVER trade it in for the self absorbed, spiritually shallow and confused American standard. I still love my country, and served with honor in the usarmy. I think anywhere you have an American base there is going to be a growth in sin and corruption. I need look no further than my own service. Germany was a total hell pit for US service men picking up prostitutes and in Skorea they would regularly buy moms and daughters together as a sort of package deal of sex. It’s truly something I will never forget that those things went on. It’s sad. So I won’t be naive here thinking it’s a great idea to have US bases back in full swing. Because morally and spiritually I know it would not be for all these people I love. China is a threat, but can be handled without a US presence stationed in the Philippines. Thanks for listening

    1. Howdy Jesse. I agree to you, to a point. I have lived in the Philippines for about 5 1/2 years now. I don’t want the Philippines to become totally like the US, but it would be nice if there were some international food chains in places other than Manila. Also a better varieties of foods for expats living in the area of their choice. Some of the larger cities have good choices, but here on Samar there is nothing like that on the whole island (not yet anyway).
      As for the Americans in the Philippines to handle the Chinese, well that should be up to the majority of the Philippine citizens in the area(s) that any base will be. In my believe if the Americans are here only temporary, then the threat from China will also only be temporary. I was wondering how you propose that it be handled without the US stationed here? The Philippines can’t do it by themselves and the closest US permanent presence are in Hawaii, Guam, South Korea and Japan. That’s close, but is it close enough, especially once China gets their illegal island finished? Just a thought to get all the facts out and flowing.

  5. most of the protesters probally don’t even know what there protesting for. some of them probally even think that the protest is a way to show support for the u.s. bases…..

    1. Well I don’t know about all that Roger, but I suppose it could be true. I personally think the protesters are a mixture of people that truly believe in their cause, paid protesters, people just wanting to belong to a group and people that just want to cause trouble. Of course I think the same thing about every protest, so that’s not a big thing.

  6. i think you have to also understand the historical context. there are many filipinos that are extremely wary of being occupied again by yet another foreign force… american, chinese, japanese, spanish, or otherwise. with the exception of very recently, the philippines has been under the thumb of one country or another for hundreds of years, and there is a kind of deep cultural memory of oppression that goes along with that.

    remember that as recently as 110 years ago, american ‘liberators’ became occupiers themselves, and found themselves engaged in a bitter conflict to stamp out filipino independence that lasted over 10 years and cost an estimated 200,000 filipino lives. there are filipinos living today whose family members experienced this DIRECTLY and passed on their experiences to their children and grandchildren. viewed from that perspective, it isnt hard to imagine why some might not want american bases in the philippines.

    consider also that the same group of corrupt bastards that are so deeply entrenched in the govt probably ALSO have a vested interest in avoiding any increased american scrutiny, and you can start to see there may be a lot of reasons why this could be happening that dont involve ‘wanting china’ or mindanao separatism.

    1. I really understand about not wanting to be occupied by another country, but I’d like to point out a couple of things here. Americans are not trying to occupy the Philippines, at least not this time. They are not even getting their old bases back really. The American military is just here to show some might against the Chinese military, the Philippines are still in charge of the bases. Yes this could be them getting their foot in the door and ‘maybe’ trying to actually get the bases back later, but that should be a low issue right now. The biggest issue is China building an island in international waters with the intent on being closer to islands, owned by the Philippines, so they can begin to take them over. Does that not concern you? The Philippines is no where near the strength of the Chinese, whether people want to believe that or not. If the Chinese wanted to occupy the Philippines, and no one intervened, then the Philippines would be part of China, for sure.
      Another thing about the Philippines being independent. Since the Americans left in 1991, how has that been working out? Are the Philippines better off now than they were then? It seems to me that corruption has just gotten worse, including many political killings. Most likely Americans just being here will not slow down any political corruption, but the point is they were given a chance to be on their own and things are just not improving. The Philippine military was not built up. The infrastructure is just as bad or worse in almost every city. The poor just seem to get poorer. Many Filipinos, that are not OFWs, have no idea (except for what they see on TV or internet) about the rest of the world. I think many of them do not really understand this issue either. I believe this to be because some politicians were busy lining their pockets with money instead of investing in the Philippines and the people that they are suppose to be in office to represent.
      I don’t want to rant all day, and I probably could, but, as I said, I understand the Philippines does not want to be occupied by anyone, but if they don’t have help, they could well be occupied whether they like it or not.

      1. i wasnt speaking to any of that. the question asked was why filipinos were opposed to an american presence in the philippines, and i was attempting to provide a perspective that explains some of the possible reasons that dont involve chinese influence or mindanao separatism…

        second, your post exhibits exactly the american attitude that is found to be so distasteful to filipinos (and, frankly, most of the rest of the non-western world): that they need the benevolent americans to guide them to a glorious independence because they are too stupid, lazy, corrupt, or provincial and ignorant of the rest of the world to be able to do it without america. the question itself, and the tone of the responses thus far, betrays the real issue: that americans generally cant even IMAGINE anyone not wanting american help. the very concept boggles your mind… it creates a cognitive dissonance that leads you to postulate explanations at the wild extremes of reason (it MUST be china or the muslims… i mean, it HAS to be, because no right-thinking reasonable person could EVER have ANY reason not to want american help/influence/interference! only a bunch of backwoods idiots would think that!) rather than accept the possibility that they are simply NOT WANTED.

        it is an insulting, denigrating attitude that both implicitly and explicitly makes the case that americans are just flat-out BETTER and are the only ones capable of helping along their dim-witted inferiors in other parts of the world.

        not to put too fine a point on it: you, and your attitude, are part of why.

        1. Okay. Well I was going by your first sentence that had “occupied” in it, that is why I said things the way I did. I see that your point is that if Americans do get their foot in the door (as they have done now) then maybe later they will ask for and maybe get another foot in. Then later even more until they are all the way back in again. Is that basically the point that you wanted to convey in your first comment?
          As for the American attitude, well I can’t deny that. A lot of Americans are uppity, but not most of us.
          I, and I’m sure many others, do not necessarily think that the Philippines needs the US to help with their problem, but they need someone to help unless you just want to be part of China. If the Philippines wants to become part of China, well then I say ‘go for it’. It’s their country and if that’s what they want, then no other country in the world should interfere with it.
          I also can not deny that ‘some’ Americans probably think like you think we are, but I personally do not know anyone that is that way. I do not think that the people of the Philippines are ‘backwoods idiots’. A lot of the Filipino people that I know are far more educated than I am. A lot of them have more common sense than I do. Actually there are no problems here in the Philippines that are not also in the US. Both countries have corrupt officials, homeless, squatters, illegals, drugs, murders/assassinations … and on and on. Power and greed do that to some people, but not all.
          I live here in the Philippines and I love it. I try to be a good ambassador for the US and I stay out of trouble. Most all the expats I know here in the Philippines also stay out of trouble and even give some assistance when needed. I know that a good percentage of Americans are not like me, but I also know that there are a lot of Filipinos that are corrupt and/or dishonest. Every country has the good and the bad. Please don’t judge the whole country (any country), by the actions of a few or even by their government. I don’t.

      2. John, sorry to disagree, but many filipinos are much better off now than a generation ago. I lived here in the 80’s and can point to numerous drastic improvements. For one, the filipino middle class has grown significantly,more money is reaching the provincial areas, the economy is better than it has ever been, there are more subdivisions, jobs, cars, and more business as compared to the Marcos years. The infrastructure is actually better, believe it or not. You can’t turn an aircraft carrier around in a small harbor quickly, and in this case the harbor is still full of ships and is a slow process. As far as us occupying bases here, it could only be on a temporary basis (maybe)and strictly for logistical purposes as base occupancy is prohibited in their amended constitution. I think it goes much deeper than to be here to help build orphanages and the painting of schools. I would have to agree with Babylon about the vested interest among a class of filipinos in avoiding any increased american scrutiny with our presence. They just don’t want that elephant back in the room.

  7. Hi UJ- you nail it on the head,when you mentioned China and its sympathizer. It wants to invade PH and the other faction wants Mindanao a separate State.

    1. Well Leona, not everyone agrees with us. Some are saying that the US is just as bad. I’m not saying that Americans are angels or anything, far from it, but at least we are not trying to take over by force.

  8. This is a real can of worms your opening UJ. I think I will send you and email expressing my thoughts on this 🙂

    1. That was my intention Scott. This site has been slow recently and I thought I’d ‘perk’ it up with a serious issue that has been bothering me.

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