A YouTube video made the false claim that the United States is building military bases in the Philippines.

CLAIM: “In reality, all the US is building in the Philippines are military bases meant to drag both it and the region into greater instability, economic stagnation, and possibly even war.”

Rating: FALSE


A YouTube video made the false claim that the United States is building military bases in the Philippines.

In a video uploaded on The New Atlas YouTube channel, social media personality Brian Berletic claims “In reality, all the US is building in the Philippines are military bases meant to drag both it and the region into greater instability, economic stagnation, and possibly even war.”

The EDCA, which was signed in 2014, grants US troops access to designated Philippine military facilities, the right to build facilities, and preposition equipment, aircraft, and vessels. It does not allow US military permanent positioning or basing in any Philippine military facility or base.

Under the agreement, both countries “share an understanding for the United States not to establish a permanent military presence or base in the territory of the Philippines.” 

While the US may use the facilities, the Philippines retains ownership of and title of locations used by the US under the EDCA.

In March 2016, the Philippine and US governments agreed on five facilities that will be used under the EDCA. These are:

  • Fort Magsaysay (Nueva Ecija)
  • Basa Air Base (Pampanga)
  • Antonio Bautista Air Base (Palawan)
  • Benito Ebuen Air Base (Cebu)
  • and Lumbia Airport (Cagayan de Oro)

 

In April 2023, four new locations were added. These are:

  • Balabac Island (Palawan)
  • Camp Melchor Dela Cruz (Gamu, Isabela)
  • Lal-lo Airport (Lal-lo, Cagayan)
  • Naval Base Camilo Osias (Santa Ana, Cagayan)

Article 18, Section 25 of the Philippine Constitution prohibits the establishment of “foreign military bases… or facilities” in the country except under a treaty duly concurred in by the Senate. The EDCA does not establish new bases nor is it a treaty between the US and the Philippines.

President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. has denied that the facilities were  intended to be military bases.

“The foreign minister of China just visited with me … and I told him and I assured him that no, these are not … intended to be military bases to attack, to move against anyone, any country, not China, not any country,” Marcos was quoted in a Reuters report.

The four “bases” that Berletic falsely claimed in his video are not new bases to be built by the US but are existing facilities of the Philippines to which the US military was given access.

Berletic’s video, uploaded on Nov. 10, has amassed 55k views as of Nov. 21.  — Rommel F. Lopez

 

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