U.S. Military Buildup in Philippines and Asia Denounced

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VOA reports: “President Barack Obama’s visit to the Philippines and the new military partnership between the two allies triggered a protest by leftists opposed to an increased American military presence in the nation.

“About 100 protesters clashed with police in the capital, Manila on Monday afternoon, disrupting traffic near Malacanan Palace.”

CAROL ARAULLO

RENATO REYES, nato.reyes at gmail.com,
Araullo is chairperson of BAYAN (New Patriotic Alliance), the umbrella organization of Philippine social movements. Reyes is secretary general for the group, which has been leading demonstrations at the U.S. embassy,

Araullo is one of the signers of a just-released “Statement of concern on the RP-US Agreement on Enhanced Security Cooperation (AEDC)” along with other noted Philippine activists and political figures, including former Vice President Teofisto Guingona, Jr. They said, “We express our grave concern over news that a new military agreement called the Agreement on Enhanced Defense Cooperation (AEDC) will be signed between the Philippines and the United States during next week’s visit of U.S. President Barack Obama.

“The agreement apparently aims to increase and prolong the presence US troops in the country, and as government has already announced, allow the US access to Philippine bases, the prepositioning of U.S. arms, military supplies and equipment as well as the construction and maintenance of U.S. military facilities inside these Philippine bases.

“Given these apparently new features, there is valid concern that the new pact may be going beyond the scope of previous military agreements. That contrary to the negotiators’ claims, this is not a mere implementing agreement of the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty, the 1999 Visiting Forces Agreement nor the periodic arrangements on mutual logistics and support. The AEDC as reported by media threatens to reverse the historic Senate vote that removed the US bases in 1991.

“We are apprehensive that until now, no copy of the agreement has been provided to the public. Even Congress, particularly the Senate, has been kept in the dark. Only general statements and blanket assurances from Philippine and U.S. officials that the AEDC will adhere to the Philippine Constitution have been issued. There is no official venue for public discussion and debate.

“Just as we decry the lack of transparency in the crafting of the AEDC, so do we oppose the rush to have the deal signed in time for the Obama visit. We insist that such an agreement should undergo thorough and extensive deliberations by the Senate as well as wide-ranging public discussion.”

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