Conduct unbecoming

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THE LAST time US forces occupied several military bases all over the Philippines, among them Clark Air Base and Subic Naval Base, it took a decades-long campaign against their presence, a volcanic eruption, and over 40 years to get them out.

Anticipating the need to get and keep them out, the 1987 Constitution barred foreign troops and military bases without a treaty ratified by the Senate, which, despite then President Corazon Aquino’s advocacy, refused to renew the US lease in September1991. Not that the US was at the time still seriously interested in keeping the latter, the global projection of US power through its nuclear submarine complex and aircraft carrier tax forces being then seen to be less costly and more effective. The cleanup at Clark because of the Mt. Pinatubo eruption in June 1991 would not have been worth the expense and effort anyway. The Senate action wasn’t as disastrous to US strategy as some thought at the time. But it did end a long period of occupation by foreign troops in places where they were the undisputed, non-accountable sovereigns.

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EDSA hijacked

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DESPITE its failure to deliver on its promises, some Filipinos still hail the 1986 EDSA uprising as a model of how peacefully change can be achieved.

The shift in Thailand from military rule to democracy in 1992, and the fall from power of Indonesia’s Suharto in 1998, for example, were supposedly among the political upheavals the event inspired. Changes in other parts of Asia and in Eastern Europe have similarly been credited to the demonstration effect of Philippine People Power, or EDSA 1986.

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