June 9, 2012
The umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan today scored the meeting between Philippine President Benigno Aquino III and United States Barrack Obama, saying that the Philippine sovereignty would be trampled on by the deployment of more US troops and ships in the country. Bayan also said that all Aquino got from the visit to Obama were “empty promises of modernization which have been made by past US presidents”.
“Aquino is single-handedly reversing the gains from the removal of the US military bases 20 years ago. His foreign policy allows the permanent and continuing presence of US troops all over the country, on a scale unprecedented since the time of the US bases.
No wonder Uncle Sam is happy to welcome him to the White House,” said Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.
“The Aquino-Obama meeting is the culmination of months of dialogue and negotiations that will allow the Philippines to host an increasing number of US troops and ships under a rebalancing program that’s focused towards Asia. The stationing of US troops and ships in the Philippines is a greater violation of sovereignty than any of the recent incidents in Panatag Shoal,” Reyes said.
Bayan doubts that the Philippines partnership with the US will lead to the building of a minimum credible defense posture such as the one Obama had promised.
“AFP modernization did not happen after nearly half a century of having US bases. Modernization did not happen during the 13 years of the VFA. What makes Aquino think that it will happen now? The Philippine government should abandon any illusion that armed forces modernization lies with the US. The US will want to keep our military backward, so that we would be dependent on them, thus making it easier for them to dictate on us,” Reyes said.
“We will never modernize so long as we are under the US defense umbrella. The US will simply take advantage of our weakness to serve their interests. Obama’s speech says it all. For everything the US will get in terms of access arrangements and virtual basing, the Philippines only stands to get an aging US patrol boat from the Vietnam War era,” he added.
Bayan said that US commitment to support the setting up of the Philippine National Coast Watch System is not surprising since the US itself has long sought to establish “a seamless interface among their respective maritime security efforts” according to US embassy cables released by Wikileaks.
“Our proposal emphasizes the installation of land-based and sea-based maritime radars and other types of surveillance and identification equipment,” says an August 2007 cable from the US embassy in the Philippines.
“US support for a coastal watch system is more in line with US interests than PH interests. The US wants full-spectrum dominance in the region. It wants to control everything, especially the sea lanes,” Reyes said. ###