Fil-Ams protest “re-opening” of US bases in the Philippines

WASHINGTON, DC – From the Philippine Embassy to the White House, dozens of activists took to the streets in Washington, DC to protest what they call the re-opening of the US military bases in the Philippines.

“They are taking back Clark and Subic Naval Base,” said Bayan Muna Partylist Representative Neri Colmenares, “The presence of the bases, the Filipino people assert, is a violation of our sovereignty when thousands and thousands of foreign troops roam our country at will.”

In 1992, a landmark Philippine Senate decision ousted the US bases in Clark and Subic – two of the largest permanent US military bases outside the US mainland.

Provisions were added to the Philippine constitution prohibiting foreign military bases in the country.

Suara Bangsamoro spokesperson Amirah Lidasan said, “When the government opens again the US naval base of Subic, it also meant it’s a betrayal of trust of the Philippine government to the Filipino people who fought against the US bases.”

Gabriela USA’s Irma Bajar says the presence of US military in the Philippines is one of the causes of gender-based violence.

“Demand an end to VFA and demand an end to EDCA, and call for US troops and bases out of the Philippines. We demand justice for Jennifer Laude,” she said.

As a result of US anti-terrorism operations since 2001, protesters say there was an increase in US military presence in the Philippines particularly in Mindanao.

“The US war on terror and the way it is being applied in the Philippines is really crushing the rights of the Filipino people to decide their own future,” said Peter Murphy of International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines.

On the side of the Philippine government, there has been no official talks on the re-opening of US bases in the country. But the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), signed in 2014, would allow US forces to train, refuel aircraft and preposition supplies and fuel within Philippine territory.

Some groups have said this is necessary amid the country’s territorial dispute with China. But some lawmakers have challenged EDCA, telling the Philippine Supreme court that it needs a greenlight from Philippine Congress.

Meanwhile, Rodel Rodis of US Pinoys for Good Governance said the anti-US imperialism agenda of the protesters in Washington, DC is out of touch with the current reality in South East Asia.

“The newest, biggest threat right now is China,” Rodis said. “They are silent about the fact that China has invaded seven of our shoals and has placed military bases on those shoals. We need the US as a counterpoint, as a deterrent to China’s invasive activities.”

Rodis added: “We can’t fight the battles of the past and bring up what happened in the ’60s, ’70s, and ignore what’s happening now.”

You can contact Don Tagala at don_tagala@abs-cbn.com for more information.

2 Comments on this post.

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  • Sam Mante
    21 July 2015 at 10:08 pm - Reply

    Either these f%#^ng people are stupid or they are
    being paid by the invading Chinese. Can’t they see that
    the Philippines have already been invaded. What the f#%ck!!

  • revillo
    22 July 2015 at 8:44 pm - Reply

    It’s sad to see that those involve in the protest are being manipulated by the people behind with their own personal agenda.

    You guys should wake up and open your mind and accept the fact that we need US to help us. My simple question if in the event that China attack Philippine well you guys whose talking behind all these willing to go back to Philippines and support the battle?

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