Anakbayan Toronto Statement
On the occasion of the 114th Philippine ‘Independence Day’, ANAKBAYAN-Toronto stands firmly with Filipino people in opposing the US military presence and intervention in the Philippines. Their entrance through the Balikatan, the joint military exercise between the Philippines and United States implemented this year is a farce of true Philippine sovereignty. Anakbayan Toronto rallies for the removal of US troops now!
The US military have become a permanent fixture in the Philippines. Even more so with Noynoy in Washington agreeing to let the country be used as a storage facility for its drones, troops and deadly artilleries and as an experiment lab for military offenses in Mindanao. It was made clear by the masses through the Senate’s decision in 1991 to ban all US bases that, Filipinos no longer want to be part of the US military complex. Their presence in the country has not served the country well.
US intervention has transformed the Philippines into a warmonger nation seeking violent confrontation which are unnecessary and destructive against the Moro people of the Philippines, other fellow Filipinos and against Asian nations. The tension between Asian neighbours regarding maritime and territorial dispute is further heightened by US military presence in the Pacific making it difficult to reach a peaceful pact between China and the Philippines. But most importantly the militarization of the Philippines is a backward development which disregards the interests and the lives of the Filipino people. It is a fact that the positive consequences of US intervention do not outweigh the negatives.
The current record for human rights violation by the Philippine military has put 1,280 for murdered, 215 abductions and 1,150 of tortured civilians since 2001 when the government began implementing the US counterinsurgency project against extreme Islamist groups. But the project has since been diversified in targeting government oppositions, human rights advocates and community leaders, journalists and other governemnt critics. News of kill drones in the southern part of Mindanao has already made headlines killing 15 and leaving the indigenous Tausug community in despair. Such US sanctioned violent acts not only further complicates the government’s relationship with the various sectors of Philippine society but damages the reconciliation process.
Under Oplan Bayanihan where promises of school and other development projects are enticing to the impoverished Filipino communities, the military presence have actually interrupted the social and school life of these communities where its resources are rerouted to ensure the comfort of the troops. But the more disturbing fact is that Balikatan development projects are reconnaissance project for the Philippine and US military to be used against the communities themselves.
Cases of prostitution, rape, sexual abuses are also severe symptoms of military presence. Red light districts where the majority of workers are women and children but who as sex workers are prone to sexual abuse and sexually transmitted diseases flourish where there are US troops . Not only that, since the closing of the US bases and the constant stream of military men through VFA, around 52,000 Amerasian sons and daughters of US GI men are left with their Filipino mothers to face poverty, discrimination and hardship without any support from the American fathers or the US government.
No doubt that these and other cases of human rights violation will only increase with the US military presence in the Philippines.
Anakbayan Toronto opposes US military presence because it interferes with and violates Philippine sovereignty and independence while leaving the Philippines to pick up the laid wastes left behind by the actions done through US intervention. True Philippine development and independence does not interest the US. We recognize the true intention of their presence is to consolidate US hegemonic interest in the Pacific and only use the Philippines as a key military asset. But we will not be bullied!
We ask our kababayans in Canada along with our friends and allies to join our voices with the Filipino people in demanding an abrogation of the VFA and the immediate withdrawal of US troops from the Philippines.
Stop US intervention in the Philippines!
Junk the Visiting Forces Agreement!
Uphold genuine Philippine independence!