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.”
RENATO REYES, nato.reyes at gmail.com, @natoreyes
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.”
BERNADETTE ELLORIN, [in NYC], ateberns at gmail.com
RHONDA RAMIRO, [in San Francisco] rramiro at gmail.com
Ellorin and Ramiro at both members of BAYAN-USA. They were just quoted in the piece “Deal Welcoming US Military Into Philippines Slammed As ‘Betrayal.”
JOSEPH GERSON, [now in NYC] best today via text message, jgerson80 at gmail.com
Gerson is director of programs for the American Friends Service Committee in New England and the author of several books. He has traveled extensively in Asia and is able to comment on various aspects of Obama’s trip as well as to put media in touch with people in various countries Obama is visiting. He helped organize the recent conference “Pivoting for Peace in Asia/Pacific: Confronting U.S. Militarism and Corporate Dominance“ in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which issued the following statement: “Today, the U.S. is deepening and expanding military alliances and building new military bases to encircle China with a ‘great wall in reverse,’ to ‘manage’ China’s rise. New military bases are being established in South Korea, Japan, the Philippines and Australia, while the U.S. hopes to retain bases in Afghanistan. The U.S. is increasing access to military installations and increasing military cooperation with Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, New Zealand and India. With this increasing militarization come arms races and the growing dangers of miscalculations and war.”