U.S. officials have become increasingly concerned over security measures at American bases in the Philippines because of the growth of the communist New Peoples Army guerrilla movement, the U.S. ambassador said today.
“The threat situation could change at any time,” said Stephen Bosworth, U.S. ambassador to the Philippines. “We don’t want to be in a static position. We want to try to be looking ahead, try to be prepared.”
Bosworth said he welcomed Philippine Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile’s order to investigate base security following a U.S. Senate subcommittee report which said the installations were vulnerable to terrorist attack.
Clark Air Base, home of the U.S. 13th Air Force, and Subic Bay Naval Base, the logistics and repair center of the U.S. 7th Fleet, are both within 60 miles north of Manila and regarded as vital in projecting U.S. military power in the Pacific and the Indian Ocean.
Both bases are located on the main island of Luzon, where the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines was formed 16 years ago. The New Peoples Army has since grown into a nationwide force of 12,000 to 15,000 armed troops.