Kilusan para sa Pambansang Demokrasya (KILUSAN) call on critical-minded Filipinos to closely scrutinize the newest security pact between PH and the US that is said to be ‘80 percent done’ as recently articulated by Defense Undersecretary Pio Lorenzo Batino. Batino coincidentally heads the PH negotiating panel that has been brokering this deal since August last year.
Rather than meekly accepting that the Agreement on Enhanced Defense Cooperation (AEDC) formerly known as Agreement on Increased Rotational Presence‘ will merely implement the general provisions of the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) and the Visiting Forces Agreement, we need to look closer at what is really at stake under this new deal.
New Basing Arrangements
If the Visiting Forces Agreement opened the door to the controversial presence of more than 600 fully-armed and highly skilled Joint Special Operations Task Force – Philippines (JSOTFP) in the heart of Mindanao, for the past 12 years, making these areas cooperative security locations (CSLs), a new basing arrangement.
AEDC will put in place another form of US military presence by accessing PH military bases and other areas to their rotating presence along with the right to pre-position their war machines and other military hardware in our territory. This is what is known as the Forward Operating Sites or FOS.
Another disturbing facet of the deal is that civic operation and disaster rescue are used as a flimsy cover by the US to showcase its capacity to respond to threat. Militarizing rescue operations sends the wrong signal altogether and actually de-sensitizes our people to the fact that these foreign troops are fully-armed and deadly soldiers. They are not gallivanting civilian tourists, like what Olongapo Mayor Paulino would like us to believe.
No Mutuality of Interests
It is highly unlikely that a small country like ours will have the same agenda as the United States who wants to establish sole dominion in the Pacific, using its numerous allies in the region to project its military might against perceived rivals such as China.
In common parlance, we’re letting our territory be used as a springboard for US aggression and power-play like in the past, where US troops from Subic and Clark were deployed to fight its enemies in Korea and Vietnam and even to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Have we forgotten how vulnerable our OFWs were in the Middle East when we aligned ourselves with the US backed “Coalition of the Willing” against Iraq, which was a war of aggression to secure Iraq oil resources for the US? By siding with the US, our government is putting our national security at risk rather than protecting it.
If we align ourselves with a bully like the US, how can we expect to exist peaceably with our neighbors?
This deal is a win-lose situation. A clear win for the US as he has another legal cover tucked under its belt to enable it to make use of our strategic location as well as resources for its own ends, while we are left at the losing end, left to absorb the cost and danger of allowing access to foreign military troops in our lands and seas at the expense of our sovereignty and independence as a nation. ####