Philippines – United States relations (Filipino: Ugnayang Pilipinas at Estados Unidos) are bilateral relations between the United States of America and its former colony the Republic of the Philippines. Relations between the United States and the Philippines are strong, historically close and extremely friendly and has also been described as a Special Relationship. The United States is undeniably the Philippines’ closest ally in the world, Philippines being one of United States’ oldest Asian partners and a close strategic major non-NATO ally. Throughout history, there were moments of cooperation and disagreement between Uncle Sam (America) and Juan Dela Cruz (Philippines) and in this article, we will find out the history of this relationship and its importance.
Bases era (1947–91)
Pursuant to the 1947 Military Bases Agreement, the United States maintained and operated major facilities at Clark Air Base until November 1991, and at Subic Bay Naval Complex and several small subsidiary installations in the Philippines until November 1992. In July 1991, negotiators from the two countries reached agreement on a draft treaty providing for the clean-up and turn over of Clark to the Philippine government in 1992, and for the lease of Subic Bay Naval Base by the U.S. for ten years. By 1991, operations at Clark had already been scaled back because of the end of the Cold War, with the last combat aircraft leaving in 1990, before the base was heavily damaged by the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo.
On September 16, 1991, the Philippine Senate rejected the bases treaty by a slim margin, and despite further efforts to salvage the situation, the two sides could not reach an agreement. As a result, the Philippine Government informed the U.S. on December 6, 1991, that it would have one year to complete withdrawal. That withdrawal went smoothly and was completed ahead of schedule, with the last U.S. forces departing on November 24, 1992. On departure, the U.S. Government turned over assets worth more than $1.3 billion to the Philippines, including an airport and ship-repair facility. Agencies formed by the Philippine Government have converted the former military bases for civilian commercial use, with Subic Bay serving as a flagship for that effort. The Philippine government on July 16, 2015 announced that it will revive a US-built deep-water naval base in Subic Bay.