The Philippines, concluding a round of talks on U.S. bases, said Friday it wants to take over four smaller facilities along with Clark Air Base when their leases expire next year but agreed to discuss a phaseout of the massive Subic Bay Naval Station.
U.S. basing rights in the Philippines will terminate with the September 1991 expiration of a 1947 pact. The Philippines made its proposals on the future of the six U.S. facilities during four days of talks that closed Friday, and the United States said it was willing to discuss the offers."This week was a week of proposals and counterproposals and working together in a cooperative way . . . to make this transition period beneficial to all concerned," U.S. spokesman Stanley Schrager said.
He said there were no agreements reached and technical panels would meet on the various issues. The talks will resume in October in Manila.
The United States has traditionally argued that its bases in the Pacific island nation were of great strategic importance. But, with the warming of relations with the Soviet Union and with budget pressures, special U.S. negotiator Richard Armitage said Tuesday the United States was prepared to scale down its presence in the Philippines. He hinted it could take at least 10 years.
Some Filipinos strongly oppose any continued U.S. military presence in their nation, calling it a relic of a colonial past. Police used water cannons, tear gas shells and truncheons to break up a rally a block from the U.S. Embassy Friday by some 1,500 leftist students demanding the dismantling of the facilities.
The Canadian Embassy warned its citizens to avoid U.S. government facilities in Manila and elsewhere in the Philippines until at least Tuesday, fearing attacks by communist guerrillas.
Ten Americans have been killed since 1987 in attacks blamed on the 19,000-strong New People's Army.
Philippine spokesman Rafael Alunan said Friday he understands that the Philippine position is that the four small facilities "shall revert to the Philippines on Sept. 17, 1991," a day after the expiration of the 1947 treaty.
The four smaller bases are the Camp John Hay recreation facility in the mountain resort of Baguio and the San Miguel, Wallace and Camp O'Donnel communications stations.
Clark, home to the 13th Air Force, is manned by 9,200 soldiers. Subic, with 6,200 military personnel, is the repair and logistics center for the U.S. 7th Fleet. The Philippines plans to turn both into industrial parks.
The United States provides $481 million in aid annually in return for the use of the bases.
Alunan said if no agreement is reached by January, the government will take steps to take over the facilities.