Lumads, Moro and Christians

declare their unequivocal opposition

to the ongoing U.S. military expedition in Mindanao

 

Cagayan de Oro and Valencia, Bukidnon

 

February 18, 2008

 

 

Racabe Chair Agakhan Shareif
   
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Cagayan de Oro
           

 

MINDANAO PEOPLES’ MANIFESTO
AGAINST U.S. INTERVENTION 2008

 

We, the peoples of Mindanao – Lumads, Moro and Christians – who have long desired for self-determination, national sovereignty, and lasting peace, hereby declare our unequivocal opposition to the ongoing U.S. military expedition in Mindanao.

We believe that the entry of American soldiers, advisers and war tacticians, including war materiel, equipment, and facilities, is neither constitutionally nor morally justified.

The U.S. military presence in the Philippines is founded on the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT), Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and Mutual Logistics Support Arrangement (MLSA) which, like the U.S.-R.P. Military Bases Treaty terminated by the Senate in 1991, does not have any regard for the provisions in the Constitution barring nuclear weapons, military base operations, criminal accountability of American soldiers to Philippine courts, and accountability for damages to the environment caused by toxic wastes.

Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has allowed the transgression of our own sovereignty. The lopsided MDT, VFA, and MLSA, which Pres. Arroyo upholds, reflect the master-and-lackey relationship between the United States and the Philippines. By invoking these pacts, the Macapagal-Arroyo Administration hands over limitless powers, privileges and access to U.S. military forces, turning the Philippines into a virtual U.S. military base. She has gone so far as to make the Republic of the Philippines a key ally in the War on Terror, and promoted the U.S.’ anti-terrorism campaign throughout Southeast Asia.

While the U.S. government continues to paint Mindanao as a terrorist haven, we are dismayed by the evidences suggesting U.S. covert operatives had a hand in the series of bombings that have taken place in Mindanao over the past six years. We condemn the collusion between terrorist groups such as the Abu Sayyaf and the Armed Forces of the Philippines, as attested to by both Christians and Muslims in Basilan.

It is no wonder that after a series of intensive military operations, anti-terrorism trainings, and the establishment of the Joint Special Operations Task Force – Philippines, the AFP soldiers and their U.S. counterparts have not rooted out the Abu Sayyaf. They are fighting their own shadow.

U.S. military aid in the form of joint training exercises, monetary and material support, and regular military advice has led to an increase of human rights violations. Hundreds of Moro civilians have been wrongly accused and arrested for being supposed terrorists. Nearly nine hundred activists across the Philippines have become victims of extrajudicial killings by suspected military agents. The all-out wars and military operations have displaced hundreds of thousands across Mindanao. While the U.S. government promotes itself as a protector of democracy and an advocate of human rights, these crimes against the people are made possible through its military aid. We condemn this duplicity and hold the U.S. accountable for its complicity.

We demand indemnification for the victims of the growing number of human rights violations committed at the hands of U.S. military personnel. We call for justice, and demand that U.S. soldiers be given the same treatment under the law as any other perpetrator. We cannot let another woman be raped, nor let another farmer be hit by stray bullets and shrapnel at the hands of foreign aggressors.

We call on Congress to conduct an immediate and comprehensive investigation into these violations. We call on its appropriate committees to probe beyond the ‘amicable’ settlements imposed by the U.S. military on its victims. We call for protection of these victims so that they may be able to testify freely, and attain justice and indemnification.

We are outraged at the trampling of our laws by the U.S. government through its engagement in combat operations, and building its own military infrastructure. We call on our Senators and Representatives to also conduct a thorough investigation of the violations of our laws, and to conduct a critical review of the agreements and treaties governing U.S. military presence such as the Visiting Forces Agreement, the Mutual Logistics Support Agreement, and the Mutual Defense Treaty.

We expose the humanitarian missions conducted by the U.S. military as a way to sugar coat the permanent presence of its special operations forces in the Philippines after losing its bases in 1992. Such missions are part and parcel of a larger military objective which will ultimately endanger our lives and communities.

The current economic decline hitting the U.S. has generated a desperate scramble to salvage its economy. While the Philippine government foots the bill for the military war games, the U.S. is given the opportunity to promote the exhibition and sale of its latest weapons to countries in the Southeast Asian region. The presence of U.S. troops also strengthens American economic interests in Mindanao where U.S. corporations have billions of dollars of investments.

We look back to our history and recognize the long-drawn struggle of the peoples of Mindanao against foreign invaders. In the hands of American troops, thousands of Muslims were massacred, the .45 caliber pistol was created for the Muslim insurgents, deception and back-handed tactics were employed through the Kiram-Bates Treaty— all to quell Muslim resistance to colonization. Bangsamoro and Lumad alike have, for more than a century, valiantly fought against the blades and guns of the colonizers in defense of our sovereign right over land and life.

Peace in Mindanao cannot be achieved through shortcut and death-giving solutions like the interference of U.S. military troops. Peace can only be achieved by genuinely responding to the most basic aspirations of the Bangsamoro, Lumads and Christians for land to till, just wages and working conditions, respect for human rights and self-determination.

We, therefore, demand from the Arroyo Government the immediate pull out of American troops, war materiel, equipment and facilities from Mindanao and the country. We call for the scrapping of the Visiting Forces Agreement and the abrogation of the Mutual Defense Treaty.

These are trying times for our island. We call on the peoples of Mindanao to express our resistance to U.S. military presence through broad and militant means. We, the peoples of Mindanao, shall not shirk from this great historical responsibility to uphold true peace, self-determination, and national sovereignty.#

 

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 Fr. JunYa+lez and Sultan Macasalong Sarip from Lanao
     
Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo with protesters
     
     
     
UP Prof. Roland Simbulan
Gabriela Rep. Luz Ilagan
           
Valencia, Bukidnon
           

 

BAGONG ALYANSANG MAKABAYAN
Northern Mindanao . Southern Mindanao . Western Mindanao .
Caraga . Socsksargen

Mindanao Rages:
US Troops, Out Now! Oust Gloria Arroyo!

Mindanao Peoples’ March and Caravan for National Sovereignty, Justice, and Peace
February 18, 2008


The Mindanao people are outraged by the endless corruption of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her puppetry to the US military.

In Manila, huge rallies denouncing Arroyo’s corruption have begun once again. In Mindanao, protest actions against the corrupt, puppet, and fascist government have also become widespread.

From North to South, from East to West, broad and simultaneous protest actions against the Arroyo regime and the US troops are taking place in Mindanao.

Endless Greed of the Arroyo Regime

Exposed! Jun Lozada and Jose de Venecia III continue to expose the ruthless greed of the Arroyo family to get monstrous kickbacks from the ZTE-Broadband deal.

This is only the latest in a series of anomalies through which the corruption of the Arroyos has been exposed. This includes the fertilizer fund scam, Diosdado Macapagal Highway, North Rail and South Rail projects, and the bribery of local officials in the amount of P500,000 at the grounds of Malacañang.

Monopolizing contracts is not enough for Arroyo. She wants no one to disobey or investigate these anomalies. That’s why money from Malacañang flooded the halls of Congress in order to oust Jose de Venecia from his position as House Speaker, and replace him with an even more trusted lapdog of Arroyo—Prospero Nograles. Right after this was accomplished, Arroyo wants to stay in power through charter change.

Blood is the Hands of the Arroyo Government!

Criminal! The Arroyo government wants to blind and silence all of its critics. Jun Lozada was kidnapped by the police and military to prevent him from exposing the truth. His office was raided and the documents that would point to the criminality of the Arroyo family were confiscated. Arroyo twisted the law in order to prevent members of the Cabinet from testifying before the Senate. More than 900 activists have been killed and involuntary disappeared by suspected military agents because of Oplan Bantay Laya.

The People’s Poverty Increases while Arroyo gets Richer!

There is Hunger! The Filipino people wallow in more poverty as the Arroyo family amasses more wealth. Arroyo’s boasting that the country’s Gross Domestic Product has risen 7.5% is an empty reality. Growing numbers of people instead are living with empty stomachs. It is deception on the part of this regime to paint the picture of a progressive economy. Rising prices of basic commodities, oil price hikes, lack of jobs, low wages, land grabbing—this is the real situation of the people.

Shameless Puppetry of Arroyo to the United States!

Puppet! The Arroyo Regime has relied on the support and direction from the U.S. government in order to remain in power. Since the threats to her power from military factions began, the U.S. has not abandoned Arroyo. The U.S. has continued to back Arroyo in the midst of its stench and isolation from the people. Arroyo is a trusted puppet of the U.S. This is why Arroyo was among the first to offer support to the so-called U.S. War on Terror. This is why Arroyo defends the legality of the Visiting Forces Agreement and Mutual Logistics Support Agreement.

Using U.S. military aid, the Arroyo Regime and Armed Forces of the Philippines launched a series of all-out wars against the Moro people and military operations in the countryside and cities. Arroyo allowed the U.S. to interfere in the GRP-MILF peace talks, while the U.S. terrorist listing of the New People’s Army remains a thorny issue that is snagging the GRP-NDFP peace talks.

After the U.S. troops’ violence was exposed through their violation of human rights, including the rape of Mindananaon “Nicole”, Arroyo gave in to the US by allowing again the Balikatan exercises. The U.S. troops are hiding behind the deceptive smiles and ‘aid’. They are using humanitarian missions to cover their actual objectives of spying, intelligence gathering, and maintaining a permanent base in the Philippines, especially in Mindanao.

But the people cannot be fooled! The preparations for a U.S. military base where an airport and other infrastructure have been built in General Santos City are now exposed. The U.S. has spread its projects under US AID to Lumad, Moro, and Christian communities in order to “win the hearts and minds” of the peoples and dissuade our opposition to their presence. CIA agent Michael Meiring remains as a suspect in the series

◄ ◄

Former Vice Governor Tabios, Atty. Musni, UP Prof. Simbulan
UP Prof. Roland Simbulan
Former Vice Governor Tabios signs manifesto
     

 

of bombings that took place in Mindanao starting in 2002. U.S. troops were behind the AFP soldiers during the massacre of eight Moro civilians, including two children and a pregnant woman, in Maimbung, Sulu on February 4. The Moro people drove away the U.S. troops that entered Marawi on February 15.

Corrupt, Fascist, Puppet!

This is the rotten character of the Arroyo Regime. The people should advance the struggle to oust Arroyo along with the U.S. troops!

U.S. Troops Out Now! Oust the U.S.-Arroyo Regime!
 

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Photos courtesy of Initiatives for Peace in Mindanao (INPEACE MINDANAO)
           

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