FilAms give mixed reactions to increased U.S. military troops in the PH

By Henni Espinosa, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Dec. 4, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO – Rodolfo de Mayo, who just moved to the U.S. in October, is dismayed that his home was among those destroyed by Typhoon Yolanda.

De Mayo is a native of Capiz, one of the areas severely impacted by the super storm in the Visayas. Close to half a million people there were displaced.

He said he’s glad foreign aid has reached more than P22 billion.

“That’s a good thing. But I hope all the help goes to the people,” he expressed.

De Mayo added that he applauds the U.S. government pledging P2.4 billion in aid and sending more than 50 ships and aircrafts for rescue operations and relief missions.

The U.S. has also sent more than two tons of relief supplies and evacuated more than 21,000 people.

De Mayo said he supports efforts by U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg, to push for increased U.S. military presence in the Philippines and access to their former military bases there — if it would help the Philippines in times of crisis.

The U.S. and Philippine governments are still negotiating for an agreement, which focuses on the U.S. pivot to the Asia-Pacific region, which seeks to see 60% of U.S. warships shifting to the region by 2020.

The shift has become more pressing, with the Philippines’ ongoing territorial dispute against China in the South China Sea.

Ambassador Goldberg cited the U.S. has no plans to build new bases in the Philippines under the agreement. He stressed that all the US wants to do is help the Philippines and its military.

But some Filipino-American activists said the U.S. government is using Typhoon Yolanda as a means to promote the myth that U.S. militarization of the Philippines benefits Filipinos, as much as it benefits U.S. interests.

Tina Shauf, campaign officer for Gabriela USA said, “We know that the U.S. military presence in the Philippines increases to protect the interests of the global one percent and to protect the interests of the multi-national corporations that are extracting the natural resources and exploiting the people in the Philippines. When there is an increase in U.S. military, there also an increase in gender violence, sexual violence towards women and children.”

These activists said the Philippines would not need the so-called assistance of the U.S. military if President Aquino’s administration would simply do its job.

And besides, they said, Filipinos should not depend on U.S. aid.

They said kababayans will look after other kababayans. Their group, through the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns, has raised about $400,000 to send back to the Philippines after Typhoon Yolanda.

Faye Lacanilao, regional coordinator for BAYAN-USA Nor Cal concluded, “We’re a resilient people. We’re very much capable of serving the needs because we know it ourselves. Even Filipinos here sent back aid and helped them. We can figure it out for ourselves.”

You may contact Henni Espinosa at for more information.

3 Comments on this post.

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  • Kikay Pang0
    4 December 2013 at 8:31 pm - Reply

    Is De Mayo a green card holder or just another addition to illegal immigrant statistics ?

    • W
      9 December 2013 at 11:45 am - Reply

      I see De Mayo doesn’t live in the Philippines. .. hmmmm?

      • Ariz Buenaventura
        11 December 2013 at 5:51 am - Reply

        Gabriela, BAYAN, AKBAYAN are pro-communism groups. They are militant groups Made in China. Please don’t listen to them. They don’t know what they are saying and what they are fighting for. PH and US will remain allies and China is a big threat in Asia. China is a bully. US is an ally.