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From the start the 9th Infantry Division (ID) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has been telling the Bicol public that the US troops that are to come here are only to be engaged in “purely humanitarian missions” but many of their actions tell us otherwise. In fact events show that they have been fooling Bicolanos all along and that US troops are preparing for combat operations in the region.

According to Maj. Ramon Zagala, Filipino spokesman for the Balikatan exercises, 6,000 US troops will join 2,500 Filipino soldiers with warships and even F-16 fighter jets, starting February 25. If this does not mean US military operations, then I do not know what is.  This run counter to what the 9th ID said, from the date of the exercises and even to its very nature.

Add to this the fact that in the middle of January a US naval officer came to inquire at different Albay hospitals asking if they have orthopedic facilities and experts. This is highly irregular because if they will only hold humanitarian missions then they would already have a complete medical profile of the provinces months before the actual activity. Another point is that they are only asking about orthopedic facilities and experts, this is the usual branch of medicine that treats injuries from combat operations.

A US drone was also found to have crashed in Masbate around 6:30pm last January 29 in between the towns of Esperanza and Pio V. Corpuz. They were evidently mapping the areas where they will conduct their military operations.

It would be naïve for us to think that the US Special Forces came here to Bicol just to play doctor and dentist. They have clear strategic military objectives along the lines of securing US political and military interests and these have to be stopped along with the Balikatan exercises. If it continues, then they may as well spit at our collective faces.

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News Release
February 4, 2009
Reference: Fred Mansos, convenor, ALMAALAB
Prof. Jocelyn Bisuña, spokesperson, BAN BALIKATAN

Albay anti-Balikatan alliance launched!
Says US troops checking local hospitals if they can treat injured US soldiers

Members of the academe, media, lawyer’s groups, religious groups, business sector, students, people’s organizations and progressive party list groups convened the Alyansa ng Mamamayang Albayano Laban sa Balikatan (ALMAALAB) in order to have a collective stand in the province against the outright US intervention in the Philippines hidden behind the so-called RP-US Joint Military Exercise.

According to Fred Mansos, convenor of ALMAALAB, “we know that the disguised humanitarian missions that will be conducted are just cover for their real purpose and that is to launch psychological and combat operations in the region. In the middle of January a US naval officer came to inquire at different Albay hospitals asking if they have orthopedic facilities and experts,”

“This is highly irregular because if they will only hold humanitarian missions then they would already have a complete medical profile of the provinces months before the actual activity. Another point is that they are only asking about orthopedic facilities and experts, this is the usual branch of medicine that treats injuries from combat operations, meaning they are indeed going to conduct at least live military exercises and at most combat operations in the province,” said Mansos.

Meanwhile Prof. Jocelyn Bisuña, spokesperson of BAN BALIKATAN, said “this information adds to the fact that a US drone was found to have crashed in Masbate around 6:30pm last January 29 in between the towns of Esperanza and Pio V. Corpuz. They were evidently mapping the areas where they will conduct their military operations,”

“They have been fooling Bicolanos all along and are endangering our lives with their cloak and dagger schemes..   They should be held accountable and be punished for their actions. It would be naïve for us to think that the US Special Forces came here to Bicol just to play doctor and dentist. They have clear strategic military objectives along the lines of securing US political and military interests and these have to be stopped along with the Balikatan exercises,” ended Bisuña.

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The Bikolano Alliance for Nationalism against Balikatan (BAN BALIKATAN) together with the BikolXPress, the region’s alternative media group produced a nationalist video titled “Bikolanong Makabayan, Habo sa Balikatan! (Nationalist Bicolanos Against Balikatan” to jump start a massive education campaign against the Balikatan exercises.

According to Prof. Jocelyn Bisuña, spokesperson of BAN BALIKATAN, “ we know that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) along with the US Armed Forces are going all out in deceiving Bicolanos of the real purpose of the Balikatan,”

“This 18 minute production will serve as a compact tool to expose the ill effects of the military exercises. This can be used in video presentations in schools, universities and communities to start off discussions on the many constitutional, social, political, economic, moral and environmental problems that will be caused by the Balikatan,” added the patriotic professor.

“The video will also show that many sectors are against the exercises and that the evils that it will be bring far out weighs it’s so called benefits. We hope that this help in educating more Bicolanos and that our friends in media will extensively use it,” ended Bisuña.

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News Release
January 27, 2009
Reference: Prof. Jocelyn Bisuña, spokesperson, BAN BALIKATAN

On Punishing Rights Abusers: BAN BALIKATAN to US Envoy: “Look who’s talking!”

The BAN BALIKATAN alliance reacted strongly on US Ambassador Kristie Kenney’s statement that rights abusers should be punished. The group said that it is like adding insult to injury because the US is the No.1 rights violator in the world and continuously abuse the rights of Filipinos.

Under George W. Bush, the US also supported the policy of the Macapagal-Arroyo regime in silencing and killing activists and journalists. BAN BALIKATAN enumerated some of the recent violations of the US soldiers, they even sited the closing of a hospital by American soldiers and the rape of Nicole in Subic.

According to Prof. Jocelyn Bisuña, spokesperson of BAN BALIKATAN, “When saying these types of statements one should have high moral ascendancy but it is very hypocritical coming from the US government. From our stand point it very difficult to believe her, when further proof of their military intervention came to light in Jolo,”

“We condemn the abduction of the three workers of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Jolo, but this is no excuse for US intervention in our country’s internal affairs. Kidnapping should be dealt with by the Philippine National Police (PNP) and at the maximum by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), but it seems that the police and the military go to the US military any chance they get. The US drones sighting in Jolo is not the first time, the same drones were sighted in 2007 in Indanan, Sulu,”

“This is the latest proof that US troops have never left the country and that they are actively involved in combat operations like in August 2007 when US troops were photographed and the Agence France Press photographer even testified that US troops were indeed in combat operations with Philippine soldiers in Mindanao.,” said Bisuña.

“In December 2007, American soldiers forced the shutdown of Panamao District Hospital once again in Sulu province. These are all very damning evidence of US military intervention in our country and a concrete manifestation of the US government’s contempt for our national sovereignty,” added the patriotic professor.

“These incidents are clear violations of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and a slap on the face of the Filipino people. We in BAN BALIKATAN will not like the same to happen here in Bicol, in the guise of humanitarian missions. At the very least a probe is in order and the immediate pull out of US troops in the area, as well as the cancellation of the Balikatan. The junking of the Visiting Forces Agreement is also not far off, because of this. We will only believe Ambassador Kenney when these have been done” ended Bisuña.

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News Release
January 24, 2009
Reference: Prof. Jocelyn Bisuña, spokesperson, BAN BALIKATAN

“Congress and Senate should probe US intervention in Jolo!”-BAN BALIKATAN
US troops even shut down hospital in Sulu, group fears it will happen in Bicol.

The region wide alliance BAN BALIKATAN called on Congress and the Senate to immediately launch a thorough probe on the real role of US troops in Mindanao, when further proof of their military intervention came to light. The group also enumerated some of the recent violations of the US soldiers, they even sited the closing of a hospital by American soldiers.

According to Prof. Jocelyn Bisuña, spokesperson of BAN BALIKATAN, “Firstly we would like to register our condemnation of the abduction of the three workers of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Jolo, but this is no excuse for US intervention in our country’s internal affairs. Kidnapping should be dealt with by the Philippine National Police (PNP) and at the maximum by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), but it seems that the police and the military go to the US military any chance they get. The US drones sighting in Jolo is not the first time, the same drones were sighted in 2007 in Indanan, Sulu,”

“This is the latest proof that US troops have never left the country and that they are actively involved in combat operations like in August 2007 when US troops were photographed and the Agence France Press photographer even testified that US troops were indeed in combat operations with Philippine soldiers in Mindanao.,” said Bisuña.

“In December 2007, American soldiers forced the shutdown of Panamao District Hospital once again in Sulu province. These are all very damning evidence of US military intervention in our country and a concrete manifestation of the US government’s contempt for our national sovereignty,” added the patriotic professor.

“These incidents are clear violations of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and a slap on the face of the Filipino people. We in BAN BALIKATAN will not like the same to happen here in Bicol, in the guise of humanitarian missions. At the very least a probe is in order and the immediate pull out of US troops in the area, as well as the cancellation of the Balikatan. The junking of the Visiting Forces Agreement is also not far off, because of this” ended Bisuña.

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PAHAYAG SA MIDYA
Enero 20, 2009
Reference: JOEL ASCUTIA, Regional President – PISTON Deputy Secretary General (09153199469 / 4834624)

RP-US BALIKATAN Exercise, Instrumento para sa Higit na Proteksyon sa Industriya ng Langis at sa Interes ng Estados Unidos!

BALIKATAN Exercise TUTULAN AT LABANAN!

Tinututulan ng CONDOR-PISTON-BICOL ang pagsasagawa ng ika 25 RP-US BALIKATAN Exercise sa Bikol. Ito ay tahasang paglabag sa soberanya, integridad at mga probinsyon sa Saligang Batas ng bansa.

Ito ay pagyurak sa kalayaan ng bansa at direktang panghihimasok sa internal na mga usaping dapat ay responsalidad ng ating gubyerno. Ang pagpasok ng mga sundalong Amerikano ay magdudulot ng mas malalalim na suliraning sosyal dahil sa pagdisrespeto sa ating kultura, tradisyon, relihiyon at kababaihan.

Ang RP-US BALIKATAN Exercise ay ang magkasanib na ehersisyo militar ng mga sundalong Amerikano at sundalong Pilipino. Sa bahagi ng mga sundalong Pilipino, layunin nitong mapamilyarisa at matuto sa mga makabagong teknika sa pakikidigma partikular sa paggamit ng mga sopistikadong kagamitan at sandatang pandigma.

Sa kabilang banda, matuto naman ang mga sundalong Amerikano sa mga bagong operasyong pangkombat sa mga kagubatan ng bansa.

Kung kaya’t hindi kami naniniwala sa sinasabi ng mga tagapagsalita ng BALIKATAN na “purong humanitarian mission” ang pakay nito, ito ay isa lamang na panlilinlang at panloloko sa mamamayan para maisagawa ang mas madilim na pakay nitong maglunsad ng mga operasyong militar laban sa mga mamamayang tumututol sa paghahari ng Estados sa buong mundo at sa rehimeng Arroyo bilang pinakamasugid na tagasunod nito sa bansa.

Sa pangunguna ng sektor ng tranportasyon at CONDOR-PISTON sa Bikol, naitambol natin sa bansa at sa buong daigdig ang ating malakas na panawagang buwagin ang pandaigdigang kartel sa industriya ng langis. Isa sa pangunahing pinagkukunan ng limpak limpak na kita ng Estados Unidos ang pagmamay-ari sa mga dambuhalang kumpanya ng langis gaya ng PETRON at CALTEX na siya ring nagdodomina sa bansa.

Sa bisa ng OIL DEREGULATION Law, nais ng US na manatili ang kanyang kontrol sa negosyong ito at tahasan nitong gagamitin ang kanyang pwersang militar para nyutralisahin at supilin ang higit pang lumalakas na paglaban ng sektor kasama ang buong mamamayang Bikolano at Pilipino.

Naninindigan din kami na hindi kailangang magsagawa muna ng BALIKATAN Exercise kung seryoso ang gobyernong Arroyo na tugunan ang problema ng mamamayan Bikolano sa kagutuman, kalusugan, eskwelahan at iba pa.

Hindi rin kailangan ang mga sundalong Amerikano para magpatupad nito dahil mayroon tayong mga ahensya at organisasyong sibiko na may ma kakayahan at karanasan sa pagpapatupad ng mga proyektong ito.

Huwag tayong pumayag na insultuhin at bastusin ang ating kalayaan at kasarinlan ng NUMERO UNONG TERORISTA sa daigdig na Estados Unidos. Magkaisa tayong tutulan at labanan ang BALIKATAN Exercise sa Bicol at saanmang lugar sa Pilipinas.

Buwagin ang Pandaigdigang Kartel sa Langis!

Wakasan ang Imperyalitang Pandarambong sa Bansa at sa Daigdig!

STOP BALIKATAN!

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News Release
January 20, 2009
References: Tessa Lopez, public information officer, BAYAN-Bikol
John Concepcion, spokesperson, KARAPATAN-Bikol

Bicol militants challenge new US President Obama to Stop Balikatan!

Sets massive rally against Balikatan on Jan. 22

Leaders of people’s organizations comprising the umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-Bikol (BAYAN-Bikol) gathered in Legazpi City today to issue a challenge to US President-elect Barack Obama on the day of his inaguration to put a stop to the Balikatan exercises in the country, as well as to rescind the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).

According to Tessa Lopez, public information officer of BAYAN-Bikol; “As the new president of the sole superpower in the world, we hope that Obama will make a clear foreign policy shift contrary to the war-mongering Bush regime.. In this light, our challenge to him is to stop the Balikatan exercises in the Philippines before it cause more damage to the lives of Filipinos,”

“To show the urgency and seriousness of our call we will lead a massive rally against the Balikatan this coming January 22. All provinces of the region will mobilize on this day and we expect at least 20,000 people to participate. This is a clear manifestation of the Bicolano people’s opposition against the exercises,” added Lopez.

Meanwhile John Concepcion, spokesperson of KARAPATAN-Bikol said, “If the Balikatan is not stopped we fear that the number of human rights violations will spike in the region. This is aside from the fact that the US troops are trampling on our country’s sovereignty and they are also endangering the lives of Bicolanos with their war games,”

“So we are enjoining more Oragons to come and participate in the rally so that early on we can register our opposition to the Balikatan and the VFA. Like Gen. Simeon Ola we must continuously oppose the presence of US troops in our country,” ended Concepcion. # # #

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