US builds secret military facilities in Ilocos Norte
American soldiers, together with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), are rushing to build its military bases in Barangay Bobon, Burgos, Ilocos Norte. This location is not among those announced by the Marcos government where the US will build facilities under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).
The US claimed 30 hectares of land to position 40 howitzer cannons. There are buildings that American soldiers themselves admit are used for monitoring China’s military movement. The US is also building a seawall as wide as a road to fortify their base. It is 800 meters long, 15 meters wide, and a foundation four meters high and eight meters deep.
American soldiers behave like rulers over the place. Along with Filipino soldiers, they conducted a 7-day simulation and live-fire exercises in the area from March 16 to 26. Small fisherfolks could not fish during these days. They expressed fear of a clash erupting between US and China forces.
“Our situation is precarious,” said one fisherman. “What if we are at sea and then their rockets suddenly start firing?” The “seawall” is also a problem as it blocks their path to the sea.
During military drills in San Joaquin, Sarrat, US forces involved some civilians. “(During training), we carried American soldiers who pretended to be war casualties,” said a resident who was made to take part in the training. “This mean during a real war, we will be made to carry American war casualties. Damn, they were heavy!”
Residents witnessed the blatant arrogance of American soldiers. They brag among residents that the facilities they constructed in the military camp serve to surveil the movement of Chinese troops and their rockets. They use their computers to show people their missile network focused on China. Clearly, Ilocos Norte is part of the US’s “First Island Chain” strategy against China.
At the same time, the puppet Armed Forces of the Philippines has intensified its presence in the province. Accompanying the US Marines company in Barangay Bobon is the 4th Marine Brigade Landing Battalion (MBLB). This battalion first arrived in Currimao, Ilocos Norte as a Balikatan participant in June 2022.
According to residents, Filipino and American forces regularly reconnoiter the highway from Tarrag and Balaoi in Pagudpud to Claveria, Cagayan using two six-by-six trucks. Cabungan South in Laoag and Laoag Airport each has a squad of US Marines.
There are also US Marines forces in Currimao, where the Balikatan was previously held. US Marines cunningly established their presence in Sarat town using the pretext of building a health center. All of these villages and towns are on the coast facing the South China Sea.
Whatever charm the American troops adorn themselves with, residents in the affected barangays know the country will be more vulnerable to the horrors of the impending imperialist war.
“Whatever claims of development these American troops bring do not matter if it means the country will face more difficult conditions in the event of a war.” This is the response of residents to the alleged mission of “community development” flaunted by American troops.
In fact, the local people were elated after learning that part of the Balikatan Exercises that were scheduled in Ilocos Norte on April 24 was cancelled.