Naval Station Carlito Cunanan: A US military base in Palawan
The Naval Station Carlito Cunanan (NSCC) is one of two US military bases in Palawan under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement between the US and the Philippines. It was established under the Aquino II regime as part of US efforts to ensure control of the Indo-Pacific ocean. It is part of the “first island chain” (Japan, Taiwan, Philippines, Borneo, and others) against China. The NSCC can be found within the Oyster Bay, part of Puerto Princesa City’s Ulugan Bay.
The said military base was secretly developed and funded by the AFP with US support to transform it into a “mini-Subic” to serve American troops and become a station of US imperialism’s warships. It is around 160 kilometers from the Spratly Islands where China’s military facilities are positioned.
When the NSCC was built in Ulugan Bay, it destroyed the environment and caused environmental pollution. The erected infrastructures and US military facilities destroyed the rich and protected mangroves and coral reefs. The cutting of trees in the area was not permitted by the Community Environment and Natural Resources (CENRO) given that the bay is a protected area.
This severely impacted the lives, livelihood and properties of about 1,700 residents of Barangay Macarascas, one of the five villages around the Ulugan Bay. Residents in the area were evicted en massé with more than 100 houses demolished to give way for the military base. Fishermen were dislocated from their place of livelihood because the entire Ulugan Bay became a port for big US warships. Filipino soldiers fire at boats of fishermen sailing near the bay.
The military base brought about abuses against the Palaweños. Cases of violence, abuse against women and childre and other violations of human rights by mercenary American soldiers and the AFP have risen. Prostitution and sex trafficking became rampant after lines of bars and entertainment centers were erected in Puerto Princesa to serve American soldiers. There are reports that women are brought by van into the NSCC itself.
From Ang Pulang Larangan, revolutionary mass publication in Palawan.