No US bases to be set up in Subic Bay: DND

MANILA – Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Monday assured the public that no bases of American troops of any kind will be established or constructed on Subic Bay, Zambales.

“There will be no US base in Subic. I can assure you about that,” he said in a message to the Philippine News Agency when sought for comment.

Lorenzana also called the report claiming such information as “fake and misleading news”.

During his fifth State-Of-the-Nation-Address (SONA), President Rodrigo R. Duterte said that while he has nothing against the United States and China, he believes that allowing the Americans to set up a base in Subic Bay would be dangerous for the country in case war erupts, much like in World War II during the liberation of Manila, which became the second most devastated city after Warsaw, Poland.

“I’ll just put on record my thoughts. Just like Manila during the Second World War during the retaking of the city, one of the most devastated cities in the world. Kaya kung maglagay lagay ka ng (And if you put a) base at this time this will ensure, if war breaks out because there would be atomic arsenals brought in, this will ensure the extinction of the Filipino race,” he said.

Meanwhile, Lorenzana supported Duterte’s calls for Congress to pass a unified pension program for uniformed personnel as their ballooning pensions are now becoming a big burden for taxpayers.

“The proposed pension plan calls the building up of a trust fund that will pay for future pensions. The fund will come from member contributions and lease of government lands,” he said.

Meanwhile, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson Marine Major Gen. Edgard Arevalo said the military welcomes the Chief Executive’s pronouncements calling for the institution of a new retirement and separation benefits systems for new AFP recruits and officer candidates. 

“That will address the concerns of the present pension and retirement pay of the AFP which is taken from the defense budget,” he added. (PNA)

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