February 1, 2013
Reference: Renato M. Reyes, Jr. BAYAN Secretary General
The docking of the USS Cheyenne in Subic, Philippines, amid the still unresolved Tubbataha incident involving the USS Guardian, adds insult to serious injury. Instead of standing up for national interest, the Philippine government is reaffirming its status as a pushover, a subservient state to US imperialism. The port call by this nuclear submarine sends the message that it’s business as usual under the Visiting Forces Agreement. It’s as if the whole Tubbataha incident never happened. This is despite the fact that the US has yet to fully explain why a minesweeper was present in a protected marine area.
The docking of the Cheyenne is a hundred times more insulting than a Donald Trump, Jr. tweet. The Philippine government’s spineless foreign policy in relation to the US apparently gives more importance of America’s military needs, rather than the Philippine’s national interest.
We oppose any further port calls, incursions, maneuvers and exercises by US warships in Philippine under the VFA. This agreement simply allows the US too much leeway. An unlimited number of US ships can enter the Philippines for unspecified reasons, for an indefinite period of time, and for a wide range of activities. These ships use the term “routine port call” to conceal the true mission of the US warships, which is to use the Philippines as a de facto base of operations for regional intervention and power projection. It also remains to be seen how under the VFA, the US will actually be made accountable in a case where a domestic law was broken and international heritage site damaged.
National interest dictates that the Philippine government put a stop to activities by US warships in Philippine waters. The practice of “routine port calls” must be stopped. To protect our environment, VFA must be junked. ###