MANILA, July 3, 2013— A Catholic bishop has voiced concern over Philippine government’s plan to give base access to the US and Japan military to forge a stronger alliance with the powerful two nations.
Retired Caloocan Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez, head of the Catholic hierarchy’s public affairs committee, said the Aquino administration must examine the proposal carefully and its implications.
“We have to study this very well if it will be beneficial to our country or not,” Iñiguez said.
President Benigno Aquino III earlier expressed support to the military’s plan to give US and Japan greater access to the country’s military facilities, amid the Philippine’s territorial dispute with China.
The President, however, said their increased presence would not be permanent.
“If you want a credible alliance, then you will have to have mutual training and that will normally occur within our territory or the allies’ territory,” Aquino said.
Although not discounting the positive effects if such agreements are made, the bishop said the government must be sure that they are not surrendering the country’s sovereignty to other nations.
“We are a member of an international family and it’s part of having proper relations, proper coordination with other countries,” Iñiguez said.
“But we must make sure that this will not result to us being held by the neck,” he said. (CBCPNews)