In the context of defending Philippine territory from Chinese incursions in the South China Sea, the Aquino government announced plans last week to revive air and naval bases at Subic Bay and Clark Airfield and grant access to US warships, planes, military equipment and personnel. Filipino-Americans in the US, under the banner of BAYAN USA, assert that the Aquino government’s access agreement with the US military will ultimately damage, not defend, the Filipino people– as the past 67 years of nominal independence has shown. BAYAN USA calls on the Aquino government to put the interest of the Filipino people first and genuinely defend our national sovereignty by rejecting its military access agreement with the US.
The Real Bully in Asia
Since announcing it’s so-called pivot to the Asia-Pacific region last year, the Obama administration unleashed and continues to fan the flames of an anti-China scare campaign taken up by corporate media in order to justify increased US intervention. Threatened by China’s growing economic influence, the US government seeks to consolidate its most loyal puppets in the region, including the Aquino government, in order to ensure its hegemony over the Asia-Pacific trade market that accounts for approximately $60 trillion of the US GDP. Key to this consolidation is greater US military control and aggression to fuel Washington’s war economy.
The US military’s usage of the Philippines as a military playground through the Visiting Forces Agreement is a far greater incursion to Philippine national sovereignty and territorial integrity than the deployment of Chinese vessels near the Ayungin Shoal and the Spratly Islands. While BAYAN USA is critical of China’s position, opposition to it should not be used as a pretext to justify the real bully’s trampling on the Filipino people’s national interests.
Filipinos Will Pay the Price
The so-called patriotism of the Aquino clique and its pseudo-progressive camp of supporters in the form of opposing China’s incursions while allowing more and more US military intervention in the Philippines reeks of insincerity and disregard for Philippine sovereignty.
Have they forgotten about Suzette “Nicole” Nicolas, the young Filipina woman who was brutally gang-raped by 6 US marines in Subic Bay in 2005? Or the deaths of Buyong-Buyong Isnijal and other Philippine civilians, including young children, at the hands of US troops stationed in the Philippines? What about the ongoing public health disaster inflicted on generations of Filipinos from the toxic waste left behind by the former permanent US military installations in Subic and Clark? Or the destruction of the Tubbataha Reef, a UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site, by a US warship that got caught in it?
The free pass granted to US military personnel stationed in the Philippines to violate local laws with impunity is just as much of an affront to Philippine sovereignty. This deserves as much organized public outcry and denunciation from Filipinos globally than China’s non-aggressive position in the South China Sea.
The Filipino people will pay the high price for continued US military presence in the Philippines, and for the Aquino clique’s ardent support of it. Do the Aquino clique and its supporters abroad believe the military access agreement will actually defend Philippine territory, or are they benefiting from assisting US geo-political interest to provoke military aggression, while throwing the Filipino people into the crosshairs? The revival of US military bases in the Philippines leaves the entire country a greater target for attack.
BAYAN USA believes the territorial dispute in the South China Sea can be addressed through peaceful, non-aggressive means. We call on the Aquino government to exhaust all forms of diplomacy with the Chinese government to settle the dispute before considering an aggressive posture.
We call on the Aquino government to defend the Filipino people from regional military aggression and from human rights abuses at the hands of US troops by rejecting US moves to increase its military presence in the country.
We call on Aquino and Filipinos all over the world to remember and uphold the patriotic spirit of the 1991 Philippine Senate decision to reject the US bases treaty in favor of Philippine sovereignty and territorial integrity.