By INA ALLECO R. SILVERIO
The Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) decried the visit of a United States military chief and said Malacañang was lying through its teeth that it had nothing to do with increasing US military interference in the country.
Late last weekend, General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, arrived in Manila for a meeting this week with General Jessie Dellosa, chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). No details of the meeting were released by the US Embassy and Filipino officials.
Bayan deputy-secretary general Eleanor de Guzman said the talks are expected to center on the so-called US pivot to the Asia Pacific under the latest US military strategy. The meeting is also expected to tackle the ongoing tension between the Philippines and China over the Panatag Shoal in the West Philippine Sea.
(Bulatlat file photo / bulatlat.com)
“It’s obvious that officials intentionally delayed the public disclosure of Gen. Dempsey’s visit to avoid the usual controversy and preempt protests from groups strongly opposing increased US military presence and intervention in the country,” de Guzman said. She said the patriotic ranks of the Filipino people would continue to resist plans by the US military to station more elite troops in secret bases around the country, to conduct more training exercises under Balikatan, and to send more US warships in Philippine ports as part of the Obama administration’s rebalancing of forces toward Asia Pacific.
Bayan repeated its warning to the Aquino administration that its efforts to allow more US troops and ships in the country are creating serious threats to peace and stability in the region which will undermine the national interest and safety of the Filipino people. It cited the un-announced arrival in Subic Bay of a nuclear-powered US submarine last month that prompted China to deploy 5 warships close to Philippine maritime domain.
“We kicked out their large military bases but, in cahoots with Philippine officials, they were able to return through the VFA (Visiting Forces Agreement). Now, the entire country is in danger of becoming an even larger American military base with Obama’s so-called pivot to Asia. The decades of military intervention, of abuses and violation of our sovereignty as a people in the hands of American troops are enough,” said de Guzman.
Bayan said it is organizing protest actions in Manila as well as in the US for the Washington visit of President Benigno Aquino III this week. Aquino is first set to go to Britain on June 4, and from there on June 6 proceed to the US. Aquino is expected to discuss with British Prime Minister David Cameron and US President Barack Obama the importance of freedom of navigation in the West Philippine Sea as an international concern.”
Protests against Aquino on Independence Day
In a related development, the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas announced that there will be “massive Independence Day protests” directed against President Benigno Aquino III this June. Aquino is set to make a state visit to the US on June 8. The group also announced that farmers are set to launch nationwide protests in commemoration of Independence Day on June 12 and the 24th year of the sham Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) on June 10.
The farmers’ groups assailed the Aquino administration and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) as the US’ “top apologist” for justifying the permanent presence of US troops in the country and the Asia-Pacific region. The KMP issued the statement after the DFA said the Philippines could expect a “greater number” of US warships coming in the country.
KMP deputy secretary general Randall Echanis said the DFA statement both shows the one-sidedness of the VFA and the Aquino government’s incapability to protest US military arrogance and intervention, “just like what happened to the unannounced surfacing and docking of the USS North Carolina attack submarine in Subic last month.”
“As the No.1 poster boy of US interventionist war in the Asia-Pacific region, the Aquino government has been reduced to being a spokesperson for the American military, justifying US’ troops’ permanent presence in the country under the guise of so-called rebalancing and port calls,” Echanis said. “Aquino’s June 8 state visit to the US would be a reiteration of Aquino’s pledge of puppetry to the US.”
“In exchange for US warships and troops’ basing in the country is their continuing approval of Aquino’s anti-people political maneuvers,” he said.
Echanis said Aquino’s recent high-profile and well-oiled campaign to take-over the judiciary by leading the campaign for the removal of former chief justice Renato Corona from the Supreme Court was sanctioned by the US.
“Aquino already controls the executive, legislative, and military branches; control over the judiciary completes Aquino’s control over all branches of government,” he said. “The continued US backing complements his deceptive yellow government. US support is a necessary component of Aquino’s plan to lay down a dictatorship as a response to his failure to address the worsening landlessness, joblessness, hunger and poverty in the country,” says Echanis.
“Next week, Independence Day, the Filipino peasantry will expose the irony behind Aquino’s state visit to the US on June 8 and the US’ permanent presence in the country. We will take the streets to continuously demand genuine land reform, freedom and democracy,” Echanis said.