OFWs commemorate Flor Contemplacion’s 17th death anniversary;
Call to stop US wars of aggression, deployment of US troops
March 17, 2012
|Photos courtesy of Roy Velarde/Migrante International|
OFWs commemorate Flor Contemplacion’s 17th death anniversary;
Call to stop US wars of aggression, deployment of US
5 cases of “Noynoying” on OFW issues
OFWs triumph over proposed Philhealth premium hike
Why OFWs will join the People’s Protest vs. oil
Rise in unemployment will push PH to intensify labor
export, says group
“Institutionalized kotong” in P13M overcharged POEA
Migrante lauds OFW hero from Syria
On death of OFW in Syria, as confirmed by DFA this
Afghan killing spree condemned; Group fears for
lives of OFWs in US facilities in Afghanistan
Bayan tells Aquino: “US troops already basing in PH”
Yesterday, Aquino said that he was agreeable to more US
troops, saying he wanted “more of the same” in terms of military exercises
and port calls. Aquino said that his government will not allow the return
of US bases.
“Apparently when it comes to US troops and the Visiting
Forces Agreement, there’s no ‘noynoying’ in Malacanang. The president is
hands on and has shown unusual compliance with US impositions,” said Bayan
secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.
“The presence of more US troops is an affront to our
sovereignty. When the president says he wants more of the same, is he
referring to the 600 US forces that have been permanently stationed in
Mindanao for the last 10 years? Is this the kind of virtual US basing and
permanent presence his government is pushing?” he asked.
Bayan said that the president’s call for increased US
troop presence comes amid still unresolved issues concerning the VFA. The
group said that the military pact allows for an unlimited entry of US
military personnel along with an unspecified duration of stay in the
country. Aquino created a panel to review the VFA but no results have come
out, nearly 2 years into the Aquino administration.
The militant group will lead a nationwide protest on
April 16 at the opening of the Balikatan war games. Protests are expected
to be held in Manila, Central Luzon and Mindanao.
“Aquino is opening the door for the virtual basing of
more US troops. This goes beyond what is supposedly in the VFA, that US
troops are merely visiting. From our experience the last 10 years, there
has not been a day when there were no US troops in our country. The US has
circumvented the constitutional prohibition on foreign bases since they
are now here 24/7, 365 days a year, for the last 10 years,” Reyes added.
Bayan said that another legal challenge to the VFA is
possible if Malacanang continues to allow the permanent presence of US
troops in the country. Bayan has consistently challenged the VFA before
the SC but has not received a favorable ruling in their bid to question
the pact’s constitutionality.
“Right now, it is not clear how many troops are to be
allowed in the country, and for how long. The Philippine and US
governments conveniently take advantage of the vagueness of the VFA. There
is also no transparency insofar as negotiations between Manila and
Washington are concerned. The people are deliberately being kept in the
dark,” Reyes said.
“Aquino’s reassurance that there will be no return of
US bases and no permanent presence of US troops is belied by facts. The
600 US Special Force based in Zamboanga since 2002 is testament that the
US troops are no longer just visitors in our country,” he added.
Bayan also assailed the admission of the President that
US drones are being allowed to conduct reconnaissance missions in
“The admission by the Philippine president that US drones are operating in the country for reconnaissance means that a foreign power is being allowed to spy on Filipinos and intervene in domestic affairs. These drones are under the exclusive control and operation of US forces. Their targets are known only to the US. What is to prevent the US forces from actually carrying out airstrikes similar to what they do in Pakistan?” Reyes said. ###
On the issue of US drones and troops in the PH
Again, under the vague Visiting Forces Agreement, US troops are engaging in unilateral activities that are not part of any approved exercises and that violate our sovereignty. That the Philippine government is amenable to increased US troop presence means it is willing to turn a blind eye to these violations.###
Government called on to disclose deal with
Washington on US troops
“Malacanang should stop keeping the people in
the dark regarding the status of the talks for increased US troop presence
in the Philippines. The public, including our lawmakers, should know the
actual terms of reference of any negotiations. There remain outstanding
issues regarding the Visiting Forces Agreement. There is the valid concern
that the US is seeking, not just expanded access but also a more
permananent presence in the country,” said Bayan secretary general Renato
M. Reyes, Jr.
“The US wants more military exericses, more
port calls and more rotational troops similar to the 600 Special Forces
that have been based in Mindanao for the last 10 years. This is the single
biggest continuing anomaly of the VFA that has resulted in the permanent
presence of US troops in our country, even without any basing treaty,”
Bayan announced that its members in the US
will protest the April 30 meeting in Washington. Local protests are also
being readied starting Apri 16, which is the formal opening of the
Balikatan exercises in the Philippines.The group also did not rule out a
legal challenge to the VFA if it will be used to justify the virtual
basing of US troops in the country.
The Deparment of Foreign Affairs said that the
two governments were still finalizing the agenda for the top-level
meeting. Bayan said that it was not buying the Philippine government’s
“Despite the President’s assurance that there
will be no return of US bases, we have clearly seen in the past decade how
US troops are able to base in the Philippines sans any basing agreement.
We are hardly reassured by the latest pronouncements of the President,” he
Bayan also called on the DFA and DND to
disclose the details of any plans to extended and upgrade the RP-US Mutual
Logistics Support Agreement (MLSA) which is set to expire on November
“There is the possiblity that this pact is
being upgraded and wil be in effect indefinitely, instead of just being a
renewable 5-year agreement,” he added.
Under the MLSA, the Philippine government
provides supplies such as food, water, petroleum, oils, lubricants,
clothing, ammunition, spare parts and components.
Support and services include billeting, transportation (including airlift), communication services, medical services, operations support (and construction and use of temporary structures incident to operations support), training services, repair and maintenance services, calibration services, storage services, and port services. Storage units and ports shall at all times remain under the control and supervision of the host state. ###