Too many questions surrounding US Navy ships’ port calls


While the Filipino people are still following with trepidation the developments regarding the removal of the USS Guardian from the Tubbataha reef, two more US ships – nuclear attack submarine USS Cheyenne and warship USS Stockdale, an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer – docked at Subic. This manifests the insensitivity of the US and Philippine governments because they have not even solved yet the problem that the visit of minesweeper USS Guardian caused, which could be likened to a time bomb as the longer the US naval ship remains grounded, the more damage it causes to the Tubbataha marine park. Up to now there is still no clear timeframe for the removal of the US naval ship.

The US and Philippine governments are making it appear that these port calls are but regular, routine, benign visits: “to replenish the supplies of the ship and to give the crew the opportunity for rest and recreation.” But there appears to be something more than just what is being declared.

For one, there had been at least 200 port calls by US Navy destroyers, aircraft carriers, and nuclear-attack submarines in 2012 alone, which is perhaps the most number of port calls in the country since the removal of the US military bases in 1991. From December 2012 up to today, there have already been five reported port calls, which included the USS Gridley (DDG-101), an Arleigh-Burke Class Destroyer, nuclear submarine USS Bremerton, USS Guardian, USS Cheyenne, and USS Stockdale.

In December 2012, then Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff Gen. Jessie Dollosa announced that there would be more visits this year based on the agreements on new terms under the Mutual Defense Treaty of 1951. A Manila Standard December 14, 2012 report revealed that Dellosa signed the new terms with Admiral Samuel James Locklear of the US Pacific Command in Camp Aguinaldo last December 12.

What are the “new terms” mentioned in the report? Does the addition of “new terms” to a treaty not need a concurrence of the Philippine Senate? Are we, the Filipino people, not entitled to be informed about the new terms of a military treaty that our government enters into with another country?

What kind of supplies do the US Navy ships get from here? There has been no case of bulk buying of consumer goods from these ships. In fact, they bring with them all the supplies for the personnel, even their steaks. If they get military supplies, isn’t it not prohibited for any foreign country to stockpile their armaments here?

The grounding of the USS Guardian has also raised more questions. What was it doing at the Tubbataha marine park? If it docked at Subic in Zambales and was on its way to Indonesia via the Sulu Sea, why did it stray toward the Tubbataha reef, which is very close to Palawan island, instead of going straight down to Indonesia? How could a US navy ship, which is part of the most modern fleet in the world, have a “faulty data chart”? Isn’t a minesweeper supposed to have state of the art sonar radars to be able to do what it is supposed to do, which is to detect mines hidden below the surface of the water? Why did it ignore the warnings of the Tubbataha park management to stay away from the reef?

There have been so many developments in the relations, especially with regards military affairs, between the country and US since the Aquino administration took over the reins of government and the Filipino people are left in the dark about these crucial matters; so much for transparency in the Aquino government. But we have the right to know because it is the Filipino people’s lives and future that are at stake. (

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  1. Yes,I agree with the general drift of this article,although I feel that not all Pilipinos “..are following with trepidation..” the present grounded U.S.Navy ship in the restricted reefed region in Pilipinas’ waters.Many will not be giving the fact the time-of-day.
    However,I and many other people-of-the-world am/are very concerned for the safety of the reef and it’s inhabitants..AND concerned (with trepidation) at the sad lack of information regarding ALL the circumstances relevant and leading up to the grounding..AND,what and when that wreck will be safely removed?
    I wonder if the ?successful passing of the Freedom-of-Information Bill would change for the better the release of all data related to similar subjects and situations which very many Pilipinos and others are vitally interested(in the Truth!)?

  2. Better that a Big Brother roam our shores than the chinky-eyed next door bully!

  3. what is this paper, Chinese funded? Maybe you want the Chinese warships to come instead and claim nothern Luzon as well.

  4. For the American ships coming to the Philippines for port calls shouldn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that there is a belligerent China attempting to illegally seize shoals and islands right up to the Philippine shoreline, not to mention Japan, Vietnam, and other nations who all combined have no deterrence against communist aggression. Does the writer of this article really think that the Chinese made an error in the media releases that even the Philippines is Chinese or would they like to recall Tibet? Russian jets approach from the North, the Chinese J10’s and battleships locking on Japanese ships, with North Korea the surrogate provocateur ready with nuclear missiles – clearly shows China is ready to attack the United States via proxy nations of Japan and North Korea with Russian back up if needed at a later date – that’s their alliance. The Philippines, Vietnam, India, U.S.A., South Korea, Japan, Indonesia, and Australia is the other alliance. If the writer would have read the top Chinese communist remarks – they already declared “war” and that is why the USA is repositioning itself as quickly as possible from the Middle East to Asia. If Peace can be achieved its because there is sufficient firepower to deter the Chinese alliance – so as a Filipino who knows that at least 10% of the American Naval crews are Filipino and love this nation – I wouldn’t be worrying about Tubbataha as much as I would be worrying about when China is going to start the war.

  5. While I understand the mess the USS Guardian caused to our Tubbataha Reef, I don’t understand what is the fuzz over the US Naval ships visit to our country since it is only defending us from the incursions of the Chinese navy. Which one do you like the arrogant Chinese claiming our Scarborough or the Americans as our long friend?

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