Edca reopens old wounds in Subic
SUBIC BAY FREEPORT —The statue of “Inang Laya” (Mother Freedom) in this free port provides a telling symbol of Philippine sovereignty, or the lack of it.
conflict],” de la Llana said.
De la Llana was very familiar with this scenario of Subic (and the Philippines) becoming collateral damage in the event of an all-out war between the US and some superpower rival—and the divisive effect of the bases issue on the local community.
As a college student in the 1980s, the native Zambaleña was among those who called for the dismantling of the US bases—even when her father, the late Judge Gualberto de la Llana, sat as chairman of Zomorus, the Zambales- Olongapo Movement for the Retention of US Bases. Many times father and daughter debated heatedly over the issue. And now, the issues come back under Edca.
“I think the lack of a provision explicitly saying that the US would come to our aid when we are attacked by another nation makes it unfair to the Philippines,” de la Llana said. “The economic benefits under Edca are okay, but what I don’t like is that Edca allows the US to hide behind the skirt of the Philippine military, when we know for a fact that we’re putting up these Philippine naval and air bases inside the Subic Bay Freeport Zone for the benefit of the Americans.”