PHILIPPINE'S SENATE OPPOSES AQUINO ON TREATY FOR US BASES
Filipino President Corazon Aquino was reported to be pleased with a proposed United States-Philippine military bases accord, but legislators criticized the deal Feb. 18 and said she would have to twist arms to get the Senate to approve it. Foreign Secretary Raul Manglapus, Manila's chief negotiator, reported to Mrs. Aquino Feb. 18 on the result of the fifth round of negotiations held in Manila last week and told reporters later that ``she is quite pleased with the situation.''
The government said last weekend it would agree to allow the US continued use of the bases until 1998 in return for $5.7 billion.
The agreement requires the approval of two-thirds of the 23 senators, many of whom see the bases as a relic of American colonial rule.
Lone opposition Senator Juan Ponce Enrile predicted the Senate would shoot down any new treaty.
A Senate rejection would toll the end of nearly a century-long US military presence in the former colony.
The treaty allowing US forces to operate Clark air base, Subic naval dockyard and four smaller facilities expires in September.
Washington has agreed to relinquish the four smaller installations but wants to retain control of Subic and have access to Clark for 10 to 12 years.
Subic and Clark supply US forces in the Gulf war, employ about 70,000 Filipinos and inject more than $1 billion into the Philippine economy.
Philippine officials said Washington had offered cash grants totaling $400 million annually for continued use of Clark and Subic, the biggest US military bases overseas. Manila asked for a compensation package of $825 million a year.
US Embassy spokesman Stanley Schrager said no final agreement had been reached on duration and compensation but he hoped there would be an accord soon. Further talks will be held in Washington before the end of the month.