August 8, 2017
Renato M. Reyes, Jr. – BAYAN secretary general
Bayan opposes in the strongest terms US plans to conduct airstrikes in the Philippines against ISIS-linked groups. There can be no justification for allowing a foreign superpower with the world’s worst rights record to be conducting airstrikes on Philippine soil. The US wants to make the Philippines another Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria or Somalia. The Philippines is a priority target for US military intervention according to the US Special Operations Command last May 2017. In all these countries where the US sanctioned airstrikes against Al Qaeda and ISIS, there were huge civilian casualties.
The airstrikes will violate our national sovereignty and will run counter to the constitutional ban on foreign troops participating in combat operations in the Philippines.
There is a concerted effort now on the part of several US agencies to push for an expanded US role in the fight against ISIS in Mindanao, using the ongoing conflict as a pretext for permanent US basing and power-projection in Southeast Asia. US military presence also aims to secure US economic interests in the region.
The proposals from the US may culminate in the announcement of a US-led, named-operation in Mindanao similar to Operation Enduring Freedom: Philippines which was launched in 2002 against the Abu Sayyaf. This may be the highlight of the Philippine visit of US President Donald Trump in November.
The US cannot be expected to be effective against ISIS as it was the US itself which caused the creation of ISIS. In the same way, the US was not effective against the Abu Sayyaf despite being in Mindanao for 15 years. The US only uses these conflicts to justify their military presence in different parts of the world.
President Duterte has backtracked on most of his pronouncements against the US and has allowed US intervention in Marawi. He will expose himself as the biggest US puppet in Asia if he allows the US to carry out airstrikes in Mindanao. He must not allow the US to carry out this plan. ###
For reference on the news of airstrikes and an expanded US role in Mindanao:
Photo credits to AFP / TED ALJIBE