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Posts Tagged ‘balikatan 2009’

10 years after, why are US troops still here?

MANILA, Philippines—“Life will go on” in the event the country junks the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the United States, Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago said Sunday.

Santiago said in a dzBB radio interview Sunday that she would seek the scrapping of the pact altogether should the US reject proposals to renegotiate the VFA.

Santiago, who chairs the Senate foreign relations committee, said she would have its members sign on Tuesday the committee report containing the findings and recommendations of the just-concluded Senate hearing into the VFA.

She said she would then sponsor a resolution on the floor “expressing the sense of the Senate that the Secretary of Foreign Affairs should seek to renegotiate the VFA with the US, and in case of denial, that we should give notice of its termination.”

“We want Foreign Secretary (Alberto) Romulo to ask the US embassy to discuss the VFA because of questions over whether US troops do engage in combat operations here instead of just training our soldiers,” Santiago said.

According to Santiago, there were also questions as to why after 10 years, US troops were still here when the agreement was only supposed to be a “visiting forces” pact.

“If they don’t want to negotiate with us, then we can give them notice,” she said, pointing out that as provided for in the VFA, the agreement may be abrogated by either party giving six months’ notice.

Pass in plenary

Santiago expressed confidence that members of her committee would support the resolution. She believes all the senators would also approve the resolution.

“I think it will pass (in the plenary) because it’s not calling for the outright termination of the VFA but a renegotiation…If they don’t want to renegotiate, we don’t have a choice but to terminate it,” she said.

The Senate resolution would then be transmitted for the consideration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who has the sole power to terminate the agreement.

Last week, Santiago called for a Senate hearing into the VFA following announcements by US defense officials that they had decided to keep a 600-member US special force in the country indefinitely.

After the hearing, Santiago said she would push for the abrogation of the treaty because it was “very vague” since it seemed to allow US troops to get involved in combat operations against the enemies of the state.

Reports that American forces had engaged in combat operations against the Abu Sayyaf bandit group in Mindanao as early as 2002 should be looked into by the Commission on the Visiting Forces Agreement, Malacañang said Saturday.

“These reports should be looked into by the appropriate body, and the appropriate body is the VFA Commission,” said Press Secretary Cerge Remonde over radio dzRB.

Shot by black soldier

Civilian accounts had surfaced as early as 2002 that US soldiers joined Philippine troops in operations against the Abu Sayyaf in the jungles of Sulu, Basilan and Tawi-Tawi, according to reports.

Buyung-buyung Isnijal, a farmer, claimed he was shot by a “black” soldier during a July 25, 2002, raid on his home in Tuburan town by elements of the 18th Infantry Battalion. Isnijal was a suspected Abu Sayyaf bandit.

Investigation by the Commission on Human Rights found that an African-American soldier, Sgt. Reggie Lane, had been assigned with the 18th IB in Lamitan, Basilan.

“We have to establish if that’s true. That should be investigated. It’s easy to concoct stories,” Secretary Raul Gonzalez, presidential chief legal counsel, said in a phone interview.

If proven true, Gonzalez said this could be grounds to seek a review of the VFA, which came into force in 1999.

He had earlier said he would ask President Arroyo to convince the US government

to agree to a review, and if possible, a renegotiation.

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SYNOPSIS:
Title:  Bikolanong Makabayan, Habo sa Balikatan!
Produced by: BikolXPress, The Region’s Alternative Media Group and Bikolano Alliance for Nationalism against Balikatan (BAN Balikatan)
Duration: 18 mins

In the advent of the Anti-Balikatan Campaign in Bikol, some Bikolano video enthusiasts, writers and members of people’s organization decided to bring together different sentiments of people who will be affected if Balikatan exercises pushes through. This production is the opening salvo of the Anti-Balikatan series to be released this year.

Hosted by Jocelyn Bisuña, convenor of the regional alliance, BAN BALIKATAN, the video highlights the broad alliance of Bikolanos regarding the US military presence in Bikol.  It covers the sentiments of Bikolanos from two of the most vocal bishops in the Bikol region, Bishop Lucilo Quiambao DD of Legaspi and Bishop Arturo Bastes SVD DD of Sorsogon..

It also discussed the fears of local fisherfolks in Albay gulf of being prevented from fishing if BFAR implements the 15-kilometer policy. It also exposed how the farmers from Albay are infested by the continuous clearing operations of Special Operations Team of the Armed forces of the Philippines in their area in preparation for the joint exercise.

Environmentalist and Aquinas University Secretary General, Engr. Virgilio Perdigon pointed out the hidden intentions of US troops in the country, such as spying on the internal conflicts and natural resources. He blamed the Philippine government for corrupting the taxpayers’ money that should have been allotted to basic services while asking US for foreign aid to provide dole outs in exchange for military intervention.

Sr. Ailyn Binco of the Religious of Good Shepherd expressed her alarm on the spread of prostitution and child trafficking. She said that the areas where US troops are going to land are coastal areas where they might prostitute urban poor women.

The interviewees also exposed the hypocrisy of the Humanitarian Services as a cover for the military exercise they are planning in the region, thus questioning why should US  military personnel do humanitarian aid and why Bikol region.

Balikatan 2009 is the 25th military exercise in the country. Although the military claims that it is purely for humanitarian mission, intensified military operations, such as SOTs, has already plagued the areas where Balikatan will be staged.

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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 29, 2009
Reference: Prof. Jocelyn Bisuña, spokesperson, BAN BALIKATAN

As the Anti-Balikatan Campaign in Bikol escalates, some Bikolano video enthusiasts, writers and members of people’s organization decided to bring together a video production that expresses the different sentiments of people who will be affected if ever the Balikatan exercises pushes through.

On January 29, 2009 at Quick and Hearty Café, Old albay, Legaspi City, alternative media group BikolXPress and regional alliance Ban-BAlikatan will launch the anti-Balikatan video production “Bikolanong Makabayan, Habo sa Balikatan (Nationalist Bicolano Against Balikatan).” This production is the opening salvo of series against Balikatan to be released this year.

The 18 minute video covers the strong sentiments of Bikolanos against Balikatan. Fisher folks of the Albay Gulf, peasants from the third district of Albay, intellectuals and the religious leaders from Sorsogon and Albay, all share their apprehension and annoyance over the coming of the US troops in the region.

The interviewees also expose the hypocrisy of the Humanitarian Services as a cover for the military exercise they are planning in the region, thus questioning why should US  military personnel do humanitarian aid and why Bikol region.

Balikatan 2009 is the 25th military exercise in the country. Although the AFP and US troops claim that it is purely for humanitarian mission, intensified military operations, such as SOTs, have already plagued the areas where Balikatan will be staged.

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Pahayag ng SUMABA KA ( SPEAK OUT ) hinggil sa Balikatan
Rev. Lemuel S. Igdanes, Provincial Spokesperson

Ang SUMABA KA (SPEAK -OUT) ay isang malawak at nagkakaisang patriotikong  organisasyon sa lalawigan ng Sorsogon, mga nagmamahal sa kapayapaan at soberenya ng bansang Pilipinas ay  mariing tinututulan ang pagsasagawa ng BALIKATAN 2009 dito sa BIKOL nayong darating na Abril 2009.

Kagyat naming pinagkakaisa ang aming mga tinig at nananawagan sa lahat ng mamamayan ng Sorsogon na maging mapagbantay sa gagawing BALIKATAN Exercises ng AFP at tropang militar ng Kano. Pinaninindigan namin sa muli na ang SORSOGON ay handang muling ipaaabot ang kanyang tinig gaya ng mga naunang pagtutol sa anumang ikasisira ng  buhay at pagyurak sa sangnilikha.

Mariin naming tinututulan ang pagpasok ng nasabing “pagsasanay militar” at makataong pag tulong sa pamamagitan ng “humanitarian missions” na isasagawa at gagawin sa loob ng anim na buwan simula Abril 2009.

Sa katotohanan sila ay nagsimula na noon pang Enero 7, 2009 na hindi man lamang dumaan sa tamang proseso at protocol. Hindi sila ngbigay ng kaukulang respeto sa opisina ni Governor Sally Lee. Repleksyon mismo ito ng kanilang kawalan ng respeto sa soberanya at karapatan ng lokal na pamahalaan at mga lokal na mga mamamayan.

Sa halip na magbigay respeto sa opisina ng Gobernador, sila ay agad na dumiretso sa munisipalidad ng Juban. Si Mayor Fragata nakausap at nakadaupang palad ni Capt. Kelly Schmader, Commandeer ng 13th NavalConstruction Regiment ng US Pacific Fleet.

Kung magtutuloy tuloy ang ganitong kawalang respeto sa lokal na pamahalaan ano pa kaya sa mga ordinaryong mamamayan ng Sorsogon at iba pang karatig  probinsya?

Tinututulan namin ang BALIKATAN 2009 at ipinaaabot ang mga maaaring maging epekto nito sa buhay, ariarian ng mamamayang Pilipino na nasa Sorsogon kung saan apat na munisipalidad ang sasaklawin:

1. Juban

2. Irosin

3. Matnog at

4. Bulan

Una,ito ay labag sa ating Saligang Batas at panteritoryong integridad. Ayon sa Section1 @ 25 of Article 11 ng Konstitusyon ng Plipinas na nagbabawal ng pagkakaroon ng dayuhang base militar at tropang militar sa ating bansa.

Ikalawa, ito ay para sa tinatawag na “global hegemony at expansion of territory” ng US upang ang kanilang eonomikong interes ay lumago. lalot higit na humaharap ngayon ang US sa isang global financial crisis, potensial ang Pilipinas na pagkukunan ng hilaw na materyales gaya ng ginto, bakal oro at iba pang yamang mineral sa pamamagitan ng pagtatayo ng transnational na korporasyon na magmimina sa ating mga bundok, sa pahintulot ng GMA pamahalaan.

Ikatlo,mas lulubha ang di-mapipigilan ang sagupaan sa pagitan ng AFP at NPA at mas lalong dadami ang madadamay na mga sibilyan. Kung susuriin, ang insurhensya ay internal na problema sa pagitan ng nag-aaway na panig ( GRP at CPP NPA NDF) a hindi kailanman dapat makialam ang US  sa ganitong sitwasyon.

Ikaapat, dadami ang kaso ng paglabag sa karapatang pangtao, walang habas na pamamaril gayan ng ginawa nila sa  Basilan at Sulu, sapilitang pagpapalikas,paninira ng aria-arian at pamamaslang, pananakit at pananakot sa ordinaryong mamamayan.

Ikalima, dadami at kakalat   ang prostitusyon, at ang mga nakakahawang sakit gaya ng AIDS, herpes, syphilis, gonorhea at paglala ng kriminalidad at pagkakalat ng droga na makakasira sa moral na aspeto ng mga tao at buong kumunidad.

At ikaanim, dinadagdagan nito ang suliranin na pinapasan ng mamamayan  ng Sorsogon. Di na nga tayo magkandaugaga sa pagpasan sa ekonomikong kalalagayan gaya ng napakataas na presyo ng prime commodities  gaya ng bigas asukal atbp  at sa  napakababang pasahod, hirap na nga tayong maiangat at maiayos mga buhay natin  anupat tayo ay  paglalaruan, at aalisan ng karapatan sa sarili nating bayan.

Saan na tayo nito papunta? Hahayaan  ba  nating  sa sarili nating bayan harap harapan tayong magdusa at maglingkod sa mga dayuhang walang ibang hatid satin kundi hirap at pasakit?

Ito na ang tamang panahon upang ang panghihimasok ng US sa ating bansa ay ating tutulan. Kung naniniwala tayong ang Pilipinas ay para sa mga Filipino, manindigan tayo at patunayang ang karapatang mabuhay ay hindi lamang para sa iilan at makapangyarihan. Ito ay regalo ng Dios sa pamamagitan ng pinagmumulan ng lahat ,kay Hesu Kristo na Panginoon at Diyos ng buhay at kasaysayan. Siya ay pumunta upang magbigay buhay at palaguin ito (Juan 10:10).

Kung mahalaga sa atin ang buhay, manindigan tayo upang protektahan ito.  Hindi lamang para sa sariling kapakanan, kundi para sa buong sambayanan at mga susunod na henerasyon ng Sorsoganon na nagmamahal sa kapayapaan, katarungan , hustisya at pagmamahal at kalayaan.

Makialam ka Sorsoganon! SUMABA Ka! (SPEAK OUT) para sa Buhay at Kalayaan!

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Statement
Tindog Atenista
Reference: Gerard Edgar O. Surtida, Spokesperson

STOP BALIKATAN 2009! NO MORE TO FOREIGN INTERVENTION!

Tindog Atenista, an alliance of individuals and organizations in Ateneo de Naga University, condemns the implementation of the Balikatan 2009 and its suspicious objectives through “humanitarian missions”.

The news has erupted and was confirmed by the released statements from the advance party movements of the RP-US Balikatan that since October last year, they have ensured that several areas in the Bicol region will be the primary locations for the implementation of the 25th Balikatan Exercies 2009.

The Chairman of the RP-US Visiting Forces Agreement Commission Edilberto Adan, other high-ranking officials, and the military spokesperson of the Solcom, 9th ID and 901st 1B also confirmed that there are 3-4 possible provinces in Bicol Region that will be affected.

JUNK THE MDT and VFA! The implementation of the Balikatan Exercises throughout the country came forth from the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) of 1951, which states that the Republic of the Philippines has entered into a “mutual understanding and agreement” with the United States of America in terms of military activities.

This continues to reflect the characteristics of the country being a dependent, neo-colonial outpost of the United States of America. Such characteristics were observed in US’s wars of aggression against Korea and Vietnam. From the MDT, Visiting Forces Agreement came to be. This This lengthened the direct and indirect interference and stay of US in Philippine soil, making the country open for foreign military activities.

Provisions in the VFA sets that US military forces need not to be inspected in entering and leaving the country, making us more prone to illegal activities such as illegal drugs, smuggled goods, exploitation of natural resources, nuclear weapons, etc. only US military forces are given the authority to check and inspect their own cargo and transport vehicle as stipulated in the provision.

Furthermore, a provision of tax exemption is given to these foreign elements, which is a big disadvantage to our economy’s part. Both MDT and VFA aimed to have a more developed and improved military tactics and technology but for more than 50 years of foreign intervention, no development was seen and our AFP still remains backward.

This is a grave offense against our sovereignty and a severe threat to our national security.

WE WANT GENUINE SOVEREIGNTY AND INTEGRITY! Balikatan 2009 with the objective of giving humanitarian actions to the Bikolanos is a farce. It is a farce that was proven in the past Balikatan exercises. Its unwanted effects were further supported by the 17 congressmen of Mindanao for its suspension.

What the people need is not more foreign activities and intervention happening in our country but a change and progress in economy, politics, and culture. What the people need is change and progress that is not tainted by the filth coming from foreign influences.

What we need is a government that is efficient and sufficient by itself and free from overseas interference. Provisions of MDT and VFA directly contradict our right to sovereignty and integrity. Such provisions disrespects and puts into utter disregard our laws of the land.

It is a big conspiracy of lies and deceptions Balikatan will bring more human rights violations as seen in the “Nicole Case”, more environmental degradation, more exploitation of our natural and human resources, and more chaos within the region. This is unacceptable.

WE NEED WHAT IS NECESSARY! The very fact that this is a humanitarian mission is also as true as the thought that Balikatan 2009 is a free helping hand. The Philippines being the host country for this program will the source of finance for this activity. What we need right now is not the “helping hands” of foreign elements.

Needless to say, we do not need them at all in these times of crisis and hardships. We need proper and fair subsidies in education, agriculture, development and improvement of facilities and services, and health.

We do not need hypocrites to walk among the oppressed and suppressed. We do not need more funding for the military activities for this will not save us from our churning stomachs and burnt down lungs.

What we need is change and progression without this aliens interfering in everything that we do. Drive them out now!

We therefore call upon the youth sector and the other sectors of Bicol region to stand up and drive out the Balikatan 2009.

Also, we call upon the people and other public officials to junk the MDT and VFA for it is the basis why such foreign intervention continues to exist in our country.

YOUTH STOP BALIKATAN!
DEFEND OUR SOVEREIGNTY & INTEGRITY!
DRIVE THEM OUT NOW!

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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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