Marcos Favors U.S. Base Pact Extension, Seeks Rent Accord
Philippines President Ferdinand E. Marcos said Thursday that he favors the extension of a military base treaty with the United States and warned of possible war in Asia if the bases are removed.
In a two-hour interview with United Press International, Marcos said the extension of the bases treaty, which is scheduled to expire in 1991, is one of the issues he will raise in campaigning for the Feb. 7 presidential elections, which he said he expects to win easily.
In past comments on the bases issue, Marcos has refrained from committing himself to an extension of the treaty.
Marcos warned, however, that any future treaty must clearly spell out the “respective obligations and roles” of the Philippines and the United States.
Problems in Current Pact
The current pact, under which the Reagan Administration has pledged to provide military and economic aid to the Marcos government, has created problems. The U.S. Congress believes the aid should be granted only in exchange for social and political reforms, but Marcos considers the U.S. funding to be rent for use of the bases.
“We want to know whether the United States considers the military compensation package as obligatory on their part or not. If it is not obligatory, we want a renegotiation,” Marcos said.
“Every year, we have to beg for this military package, and yet in the negotiations it is clear that it is an obligatory condition which must be fulfilled in the United States,” Marcos said.
“I am for the maintenance of a balance of power in Asia,” he said. “Otherwise, there will be war in Asia, and that balance of power can be maintained only if those military bases are kept by the United States.”
Removal of Bases Urged
An alliance of political parties supporting potential presidential candidate Corazon Aquino, 52, widow of slain opposition leader Benigno S. Aquino Jr., has called for the removal of the two key installations--Clark Air Base and Subic Bay Naval Base.
In addition, opposition candidate Salvador Laurel, a former senator, has pledged to call a referendum on the U.S. bases issue if he is elected.