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article imagePhilippines to reactivate former U.S. Naval base in Subic Bay

By Leo Reyes     Jul 17, 2015 in World
The Philippines is poised to reopen the former US Naval Base in Subic Bay as part of its effort to secure the country's territorial boundaries in the West Philippine Sea in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
The eminent action by the government comes as China continues to occupy islands in the disputed territories and building massive civilian and military installations therein. At least two islands that used to be occupied by the Philippines based on its 200-mile exclusive economic zone were forcibly taken over by China.
Under the reactivation plan, the country will station military aircraft and naval vessels in the former US Naval Base which was vacated by the US in 1992.
National Defense spokesman Peter Galvez said Subic Bay is strategically located as it is directly facing the West Philippine Sea.
One of the territories that was forcibly taken over and occupied by China in 2012 is Scarborough Shoal, only a little over 120 miles from the province of Zambales in the Philippines.
"Its location is very strategic," Galvez said, referring to its position facing the South China Sea, which Manila calls the West Philippine Sea.
"If we need to deploy to the West Philippine Sea, it (Subic) is already there, we do not deny that. It's a deepwater port," he added.
Some of the military equipment that will be stationed in Subic include two attack fighters aircraft that were procured by the government from Korea, which is part of a dozen units that was ordered last year and at least two frigates that will be stationed at Alaba Port in Subic.
The Subic Naval Base was the largest overseas naval installation of the US Armed Forces until it closed in 1992 when the Philippine Senate refused to renew ts lease under the Mutual Defense Treaty.
Relocation of the military aircraft and seacraft to Subic Naval Base won't happen until the Philippine Supreme Court rules on the legality of the Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement (EDCA)
Last year,the Philippines signed the EDCA, an agreement that allows the United States access to military facilities for an extended period and to build barracks and other logistical facilities.
Cause-oriented groups have challenge the constitutionality of EDCA before the Supreme Court and a ruling is expected in the next few months.
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