January 27, 2012
The umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan today slammed the Philippine and US governments for the ongoing negotiations that aim to put more US troops and ships in the Philippines as part of the US build-up against China. The group described the deal as “treacherous and violative of the Philippine’s constitution and national sovereignty.”
“The negotiations aim to increase the deployment and the power-projection of the US in the Philippines and in the region. They say that they will not bring back the US bases but the proposal aims for virtual basing just the same. They are decevingthe public when they say that US troops will be here on a temporary basis. That’s a big, fat lie,” said Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.
“We should remind the Aquino government that the US troops have been based in Mindanao for the last ten years. They are no longer visting troops on temporary missions. They are here permanently. They did that in Mindanao and they now plan to use the same strategy in other parts of the Philippines. They have not ruled out stationing US warships back in Subic. They may not set up formal bases but what they will be doing is virtual basing using Philippine facilities such as those in Subic. Our country will be one big US military outpost and forward base in Southeast Asia,” Reyes warned.
“Among the options under consideration are operating Navy ships from the Philippines, deploying troops on a rotational basis and staging more frequent joint exercises. Under each scenario, U.S. forces would effectively be guests at existing foreign bases… Neither Philippine nor Obama administration officials would rule out a return by U.S. ships or forces to Subic Bay,” the Washington Post reported yesterday.
“This is against national interest. Why is the Aquino government entering into negotiations on increased US troop deployment when it has not even addressed outstanding issues and problems with the Visiting Forces Agreement? Is Aquino that desperate to get more US military junk they call aid?” Reyes said.
Bayan earlier revealed that the new US defense strategy that focuses on Asia and the Middle East will pave the way for more US troops in the Philippines.
“The negotiations come in the wake of recent high profile visits to the Philippines by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and senators John McCain and Joe Lieberman of the powerful US Armed Services Committee. The question now is: Does the Aquino government plan to keep details of these negotiations secret? Will we be simply surpirsed that US troops are returning en masse to the country and reclaiming Subic?” Reyes said.
“We should not allow our country to be a military outpost of the US for the latter’s hegemonic interests. The PH government must say NO to more US troops and demand the pull-out of the US forces based in Mindanao for about a decade now. The review of the VFA that was concluded by the Palace should now be made public,” he added.
Bayan called on the Philippine Senate to probe DFA officials on the status of the negotiations. The Senate has oversight on the implementation of the VFA.
“On the question of China, having US troops surround the Philippines is not an assurance of peace in the region. Quite the contrary, it will only serve to provoke China and increase tensions in the region,” he added.