Prof. Simbulan to hold lecture on abrogation of RP-US Bases Treaty

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ANGELES CITY — Twenty-five years ago, the Philippine Senate voted to abrogate the RP-US Bases Treaty ending nearly a century of American military presence in the country.

The historic Senate vote on September 16, 1991 saw the closure of the last US military facility at Subic Naval Base in Olongapo City. The closure of nearby Clark Air Base in Angeles City, Pampanga a year earlier and Russia’s Cham Rhan Bay in Vietnam effectively ended the “Cold War” ushering in a new world order.

But what has happened to the Philippines since the closure of the US military bases and the continued presence of US military forces via the Visiting Forces Agreements? Has the Philippines lost its strategic importance?

The Holy Angel University will host a lecture-symposium on the historic Senate vote on September 16, 1991 featuring Prof. Roland Simbulan, chair of the Nuclear-Free Philippines Coalition, as guest speaker with reactors from media, labor, academe, business and other sectors.

The lecture-symposium will be held on November 24, 2016, the 24th anniversary of the closure of the Subic Naval Base.

This year is the 25th anniversary of the Senate vote, which prompted HAU to host the lecture-symposium. It is part of the Pedro Abad Santos Memorial Lecture Series named after the founder of the Socialist Party of the Philippines, and is sponsored by the University’s Center for Kapampangan Studies (CKS) in partnership with the Social Science Department under the School of Arts and Sciences, and the Basic Education Department.

CKS director Robby Tantingco said that after 25 years, the HAU will revisit the historic event in light of the surge of nationalism following President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-US pronouncements.

During the review of the RP-US Bases Agreement that would have given the US another 10 years to operate the Subic Naval Base, the Philippine panel led by Raul Manglapus offered a seven-year extension and a fixed rental fee of $825 million a year. But the US panel led by Richard Armitage countered with an offer of $360 million a year and a ten-year extension.

The cataclysmic eruptions of Mt. Pinatubo in June 1991 — three months before the expiry date of the RP-US Bases Treaty — forced the US military contingent out of Clark Air Base and Subic Naval Base leaving behind a skeletal force to guard the two US bases.

On September 16, 1991, the Senate voted to reject a new treaty.

The lecture-symposium will be held at the PGN Auditorium, 9th floor, Peter G. Nepomuceno Building, Holy Angel University, Angeles City.

For inquiries, text or call Myra Lopez at 0999 959 0601 or email kapampangancenter@gmail.com.