For Immediate Release
Reference: Jessica Antonio, Secretary General, BAYAN-USA email@example.com
“President Aquino talks big about change, but is taking no action to change the US military’s domination of the Philippines,” stated BAYAN-USA Chairperson Bernadette Ellorin, in response to the meeting of the US-Philippines Mutual Defense Board-Security Engagement Board, which started on Wednesday and runs through Friday. During the meeting, high-level military officers of the US Pacific Command and their counterparts in Philippine Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin’s staff will discuss the joint military activities and exercises to be conducted by the two countries next year, including the controversial annual Balikatan (“shoulder-to-shoulder”) military exercises.
“During his State of the Nation Address Aquino didn’t say a word about the US military, the Visiting Forces Agreement, the disaster at Tubbataha Reef, or the impending US Bases Access accord. Obviously, Aquino plans to maintain his subservience to US imperialism, so he didn’t want to say anything that would contradict his lies about his commitment to change,” said Ellorin.
The Mutual Defense Board-Security Engagement Board meeting comes just two days after the new U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Daniel Russel proclaimed “You can count on us to remain deeply engaged in the Asia-Pacific region because our interests are so profound in that region,” affirming the Obama administration’s commitment to America’s rebalancing or “pivot” of forces to the region.
“The U.S. is beefing up its military presence in the Philippines and neighboring countries in a bid to reassert its global hegemony and to keep a rising China in check. Aquino is even begging to enter into the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement- the new neoliberal trade agreement the US is concocting in order to isolate China as an economic rival. This will only prolong the extreme poverty, violence and mal-development that U.S. imperialism has wrought on the Filipino people for 114 years—is this the change that Aquino promised?” said Ellorin.
“Aquino is only interested in protecting the status quo, so the Filipino people have no choice but to organize a mass movement for genuine change. This includes protecting the national sovereignty that Aquino has been so willing to give up,” said Ellorin.