May 18, 2012
Multisectoral group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) today held a protest action near the US embassy in Manila to condemn the presence of a U nuclear-powered attack submarine in Subic Bay, Zambales.
About a hundred protesters attempted to march towards the US embassy but were blocked by anti-riot police back up by a fire truck along Kalaw Avenue near the National Museum.
Carrying a streamer that says “US troops out of the Philippines!”, the activists denounced the Aquino government for allowing the USS North Carolina to dock at the Subic Bay port, which used to host America’s largest foreign naval base until 1992.
Last May 15, the USS North Carolina, a Virginia-class fast attack submarine and one of the most modern submarines in the US Navy, surfaced at Subic Bay. Bayan has earlier said that the presence of the nuclear-powered submarine violates the constitutional ban on nuclear weapons while stoking the tension with China over Panatag Shoal and the Kalayaan Islands.
Bayan said that the Defense department’s excuse that the presence of the US submarine is a “regular port call, just like that of any other foreign ships docking in our ports” is absurd and irresponsible.
“What’s docked in Subic is not just any ordinary foreign ship. It’s a high-tech attack submarine, presumably armed with nuclear weapons. It’s placing the country in serious danger,” said Eleanor de Guzman, Bayan deputy secretary general during the protest action.
Rita Baua of the International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS) – Philippines said that President Aquino should fully explain the circumstances behind the sudden surfacing of the USS North Carolina in Philippine waters.
“What sort of mission did this submarine just carried out? While Aquino is supposedly defending the country’s territorial integrity against China, he is legitimizing the violations being perpetrated by the US by allowing American warships to lurk in our waters, drones to hover in our air space, and special forces to base in secret military facilities inside the country,” said Baua. (end)