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With EDCA, Supreme Court Favors US Military Occupation over Philippine Sovereignty



BAYAN USA New York Action circa 2005-2006

Today, rather than standing on the side of the Filipino masses, 10 of the 15 justices of the Supreme Court of the Philippines decided to uphold the 2014 Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), allowing the US military to occupy indeterminate areas of the Philippines. BAYAN USA condemns the Court’s decision as a dangerous affront to Philippine sovereignty. We stand firm that the EDCA is unconstitutional, and it will in essence reverse the 1991 Senate decision to remove US bases from the Philippines. National mass actions led to this decision in 1991, and today we must continue to defend Philippine sovereignty against the increased US military intervention in the Philippines.

“Today the Philippine Supreme Court ruled in favor of US neocolonialism. The US-puppet Philippine government continues to deceive the Filipino people into thinking we are an independent, sovereign republic when history proves that as long as US military personnel and facilities remain in the country, we are under the thumb of US imperialism, deterred from fully exercising our own sovereignty as a nation,” stated Bernadette Ellorin, chairperson of BAYAN USA.

“The fact that the US military will be allowed to occupy Philippine facilities, station warships and fighter jets and deploy more US troops is a violation of the Philippine constitution. The only difference between today’s EDCA and the previous military bases agreement is that the US doesn’t even have to pay to build or rebuild its own US bases, because it will just use Philippine facilities free of charge!” continued Ellorin.

The Philippine Constitution states, “foreign military bases, troops, or facilities shall not be allowed in the Philippines except under a treaty duly concurred in by the Senate… and recognized as a treaty by the other contracting State.” Therefore, in order for this decision to be validated under our Constitution, EDCA should have been ratified by the Philippine Senate and recognized as a treaty by the US Senate. President Aquino rushed the executive decision to sign the EDCA prior to President Obama’s visit in 2014, bypassing the Senate in order to cater to the demands of the US Asia Pacific pivot.

“The EDCA will not bring protection for the Philippines against China’s incursions as Aquino and his loyalists like to argue; as the US stated, they will not come to the aid of the Philippines if China decides to militarily attack the Philippines. The EDCA will only bring more US troops like US marine Joseph Pemberton–found guilty of the murder of Filipina Jennifer Laude–and more death and destruction to the Philippines,” stated Ellorin.

“We must continue to oppose US treaties and agreements that are one-sided, benefiting only US imperialism and not the Filipino or American people. We need to remind our government that it should represent the Filipino people’s interest over the demands of the US, and spend much needed money on social welfare and infrastructure for the majority of poor citizens instead of on facilities for US stationing or special prisons for convicted US military personnel. Both the US and China are guilty of violating Philippine sovereignty, and we must take action to genuinely protect our sovereignty, not undermine it with the likes of the EDCA!” declared Ellorin.



Miss Philippines - Fact Check

For Immediate Release

December 22, 2015
Reference: Bernadette Ellorin, BAYAN USA,

BAYAN USA recognizes the worldwide celebration of Filipinos and global citizens over Miss Philippines Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach winning the Miss Universe competition last weekend. Seeing a fellow kababayan put up on an international pedestal as an icon of beauty naturally elicits national praise and admiration, especially in a world where mainstream media has very few depictions of Filipinos, particularly Filipina women, apart from Westernized and colonial standards of what is beautiful and what is nationalist.

The Miss Universe pageant is also a multi-billion dollar US corporate media franchise that ultimately serves the interest of the US elite. It also upholds the prevailing media norm of commodifying women. In this context, we see the pageant’s preliminary question and answer portion as a tool maximized by the media to advance the US imperialist agenda of consolidating its control over the Philippines; the pageant opportunistically pushed a moment in which the re-establishment of US military bases would be promoted positively on a highly visible and global platform.

Contrary to views that this was just an isolated expression of one individual’s opinion, this very public and globally-televised moment that reached tens of millions of viewers comes at a time when the impact of US military presence in the country is under international scrutiny with the recent Philippine court conviction of US Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton for killing Filipina transgender Jennifer Laude in Olongapo City last year. The Obama administration’s subsequent refusal to surrender Pemberton to Philippine authorities to serve his sentence is likewise sparking protests both in and outside of the Philippines and directly points to the unequal relationship and framework imposed by the US-crafted Visiting Forces Agreement.

This moment also comes at a time when a strong movement for genuine Philippine sovereignty is surging all over the country, pressuring Philippine parliamentarians to file a petition with the Philippine Supreme Court last year against the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement or EDCA. The EDCA, a newly-signed defense pact between both the Obama and Aquino governments, will allow for the building of US military facilities and operations in the country, despite a 1987 constitutional clause that prohibits foreign military basing and combat operations in the country.

In 1991, the Philippine Senate, compelled by a decades-long people’s movement for genuine national independence, voted to shut down the former permanent US military bases in the country. They cited the presence of a US military base and US military personnel were not only vestiges of US colonial rule, but undermining Philippine sovereignty.

Therefore to Miss Universe 2015, Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach, we share the following message:

Revisit our country’s history, especially our country’s historical relationship with the United States beginning at the turn of the 20th century. Learn more about the historical impacts of US war and military intervention in our country, including the accounts of gross human rights abuses by the hands of US servicemen on our kababayan. Look into the cases of Filipina women like the rape of Suzette “Nicole” Nicolas and the killing of Jennifer Laude, and the young children used as target practice by US servicemen near Subic Naval and Clark Air Bases before they were shut down. As a person in a very public position representing the Philippines, use your voice and position to not only raise our country’s visibility to the world, but to celebrate genuine Filipino nationalism through advancing our continuing people’s movement for national sovereignty.

BAYAN-USA is an alliance of 20 progressive Filipino organizations in the U.S. representing youth, students, women, workers, artists, and human rights advocates. As the oldest and largest overseas chapter of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN-Philippines), BAYAN-USA serves as an information bureau for the national democratic movement of the Philippines and as a center for educating, organizing, and mobilizing anti-imperialist Filipinos in the U.S. For more information, visit

Urgent Action Alert: Call/Fax Barrage Demand Cut US Military Aid to Philippines!


Call and Fax Your Representative and Senators TODAY!

BAYAN USA and GABRIELA USA would like to thank you for your participation and support in responding to the petition-signing action demanding President Obama and U.S. authorities to turn over convicted Marine Joseph Pemberton to the Philippine authorities immediately. As many of you know, the U.S. has not turned over Pemberton, and the U.S. and Philippine government plan to build a new, special prison specifically for Pemberton and other American servicemen who may be convicted of crimes in the Philippines in the future. This is a flagrant affront to Philippine sovereignty, and U.S. tax dollars will be used to build the prison, while more human rights violations happen due to U.S. military occupation.

Today, the U.S. Congress is finalizing a new federal budget which includes a proposal to increase U.S. military aid to the Philippines to $79 million (up from $50 million in previous years). Today, let us express our concern to our representatives that if this gets approved, they would morally be doing the wrong thing given the countless human rights violations because of this U.S. military aid.


“Hi, my name is _______, and I am a resident of ________. I am calling to urge you to cut U.S. military aid to the Philippines. I know that U.S. congress will be finalizing the federal budget today, which includes a proposal to increase U.S. Foreign Military Financing aid in the Philippines to $79 million (up 58% from previous years), despite the many human rights violations that have happened due to U.S. military presence in the Philippines. I do not want U.S. tax dollars spent creating a special prison for U.S. Marine Lance Corporal Pemberton and any future U.S. servicemen who commit crimes on Philippine soil, while there are other things that need attention for resources (examples). Please do not support this proposal for U.S. military aid in the Philippines. It would only worsen the conditions of the Filipino people.”

Find your representatives and senators by searching your area on these websites:

BAYAN USA Meme - Stop US Military Aid

Stop US Support for State Terror, Repression, and Impunity in the Philippines!


Stop US Support for State Terror,  Repression, and Impunity in the Philippines!

On International Human Rights Day, BAYAN USA joins the millions of people across the globe in fighting for human rights. We salute the courageous people worldwide rallying in the streets to protest anti-police violence upon Black communities, xenophobic policies that target migrants, and fascist tactics that criminalize dissent. We join together with people all over the world who aim to strengthen the people’s solidarity and intensifying the struggle against imperialist plunder, crisis and war.

Philippine State Terror Continues

The fight for human rights in the Philippines has intensified with the closing of the current president’s term and the opening of the national elections. Under the current President of the Philippines Benigno Aquino III, there are 294 documented cases of extrajudicial killings, 110 cases of torture, 28 enforced disappearances, and 723 cases of illegal arrest and detention, according to the Philippine human rights group Karapatan. Under the US-designed counter-insurgency program Oplan Bayanihan, the Philippine military and paramilitary have terrorized the indigenous Lumad communities in Mindanao. Most recently, the Philippine military forced the evacuation of more than 63,824 people, displacing Lumad communities from their ancestral land and livelihood. Military occupation and attacks on Lumad schools have left many families to mourn the deaths of their community leaders, such as Dionel Campos, Bello Sinzo, and Emerito Samarca who were murdered by paramilitary elements on September 1st, 2015.

BAYAN USA Northeast members stage a protest commemorating International Human Rights Day.  Photo by: Anakbayan New Jersey

BAYAN USA Northeast members stage a protest commemorating International Human Rights Day.  Photo by: Anakbayan New Jersey

“Their deaths sparked an international movement to fight for the rights of the Lumad and to demand the Aquino regime to stop the killings and to end the military occupation of schools for the sake of the children,” stated BAYAN-USA Chairperson Bernadette Ellorin.

“Don’t think that the Aquino regime is the only culprit of these crimes. Despite the impunity of the Philippine government in perpetrating human rights violations, the US government has given nearly a billion taxpayer dollars in military aid to the Philippines since 2001.  What is more senseless is that the US plans to increase its military aid to the Philippines next year by 58%–from $50 million this year to roughly $79 million in 2016. This of course comes with strings attached.”

US Funds Human Rights Crisis, Tramples on PH Sovereignty

With the US military and economic “pivot to Asia”, the Philippines and US signed the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) early in 2014. The EDCA is a violation of Philippine sovereignty which expands US troops’ access to Philippine territory and military facilities, and to potentially re-open US bases. The Philippine Supreme court will decide next week if the EDCA is in violation of the Philippine Constitution, a challenge brought forth by the movement to defend Philippine sovereignty.

“The approval of the EDCA and the increase in US aid to the Philippines will result in an increase in violations of Philippine sovereignty and US imperialist control of the Philippines,” said Ellorin. “We’ve already seen what can happen to Filipinas such as the rape case of Nicole and the brutal murder of Jennifer Laude. US Marine Daniel Smith, despite being convicted by Philippine courts, was ultimately protected by the VFA and eventually released. US Marine Joseph Pemberton, was recently convicted of homicide, but is still in a US controlled facility despite the court ruling that he be turned over to Philippine authorities.” stated Ellorin. “The Philippines and US are even proposing to build a special US facility within Camp Aguinaldo to house Pemberton. This just shows how little power the Philippine government has against its imperialist masters.”

Unite and Fight for Justice!

Join BAYAN USA in actions and events in various cities across the US this week! We are also calling upon people to print and send postcards to government representatives telling them your demands, take a photo and post them online!  You can also join NYCHRP and BAYAN USA in the social media blast to demand that the U.S. Congress, as it votes on the federal budget, cut military aid to the Philippines. Tweet your demands to members of the Congressional Budget Committee, including Scott Garrett (R-NJ), Bill Pascrell (R-NJ), and Donald Norcross (D-NJ), and members of the State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Subcommittee, including Nita Lowey (D-NY), Jose Serrano (D-NY), and Barbara Lee (D-CA).

“We cannot rely on the government to protect human rights, when they are the main perpetrators of human rights violations against the people!” stated Ellorin. “State violence is government terrorism against its own people. We see that with the attacks on Black communities here in the US and the level of impunity of the Philippine government. It is time to link together where our struggles meet and to unite on the basic fight for humanity. It is our right, and it is our duty to be the force that changes the way the world functions with monopoly capitalism at its core to a world that reflects the majority and genuinely serves the interest of the people!”


STOP State Violence and Repression!

Defend Lumad Rights to Life and Land!

US out of Philippines and Asia Pacific!

Justice for Jennifer Laude!


Human rightssituation