Philippines to open base near disputed sea even without U.S.


SUBIC, Philippines — The Philippines will go ahead with a plan to open military camps at Subic Bay facing the disputed South China Sea even if a proposed American military presence doesn’t happen, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said Friday.

Gazmin unveiled plans two years ago to open air force and navy camps at the Subic Bay Freeport so fighter jets and frigates can respond faster to any contingency in the disputed waters. The shift to Subic was decided as territorial tensions grew among China, the Philippines and four other governments.

The Philippines signed an accord last year allowing American forces to be temporarily stationed in camps including Subic, but left-wing groups have questioned the pact’s constitutionality before the Supreme Court.

Gazmin said the government will soon begin constructing the bases even if the court eventually decides against allowing American access.


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