A Filipino senator said on Friday that the Philippine port city of Subic has agreed upon a lease agreement with a U.S. private security group to allow it recruit and train people in the city to work as mercenaries in war-torn Iraq.
The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) has finalized the agreement with a company formed by the U.S.-based group Blackwater, Satelles Solution, through a memorandum in late May, Senator Rodolfo Biazon said at a press conference.
Biazon said the May 29 memorandum allowed the Satelles Solution to recruit and train at least 1,000 people for the war-torn Middle East country in the Philippines. It also allows the SBMA to lease 19,321 square meters of land and building for training purposes to the same company for three years.
He raised the possibility that the memorandum could have violated the Constitution, citing a provision that prohibits foreign troops on Philippine soil, while also violating a presidential decree on possession of firearms and explosives as well as some other laws on security and detective agencies and immigration.
Biazon said these anti-terror training activities in the country were an offshoot of Pentagon's decision to privatize some of its functions.
He said another American security group also had a similar project in Guatemala, where people are trained from Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, El Salvador, and the Honduras.
Blackwater is known to be recruiting people from Fiji, India, and the Philippines, Biazon said.
Biazon said that when Congress resumes its session in July, he would file a resolution seeking to invite the SBMA, the military, police, the Department of Foreign Affairs, and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and even the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration.
He said among the questions he would raise would be whether the 1,000 recruits specified in the memorandum referred only to Filipinos or whether they included foreigners.
He said he also wanted to find out whether the trainers were military or civilian.