Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘balikatan exercises in bicol’

Militarization in Bikol intensifies due to Balikatan exercises
Army checkpoints all over the region as anti-VFA caravan kicks off

As the anti-Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) caravan starts today the region has experienced increased militarization by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) particularly in the areas where the Balikatan exercises are to be conducted.

Military checkpoints have now sprouted all over the region to delay or stop the caravan. Numerous checkpoints were set up in Sipocot, Libmanan, Pamplona, Pili, and Nabua, Camarines Sur as well as Irosin and Cumadcad, Sorsogon. The military has gone into red alert for the caravan and there have been sightings of US troops in Pili, Camarines Sur.

According to Professor Jocelyn Bisuña, spokesperson of BAN BALIKATAN, “Military presence and activity has definitely increased in Bikol especially in Albay, as we start our caravan. The AFP has even killed a 1 year old girl and injured her family in their clearing operations for Balikatan and to discourage people in joining and supporting our caravan,”

“It is as we feared, the AFP and the PNP has now unleashed their operatives to sabotage the anti-VFA caravan.”

“In Albay alone they have militarized all the coastal communities facing the Pacific Ocean. The AFP has also called for barrio meetings for Balikatan and deployed soldiers in Barangays Bongabong, Baranghawon in Tabaco City and Brgys. Joroan, Bano and Nagas in Tiwi, as well as Brgys San Roque, Rawis, Manito, Homapon up to Taysan in Legazpi City. They will also place a military detachment in Brgy. Calayucay in Sto. Domingo,” said Bisuña.

“The military has even entered universities to garner support for Balikatan like in Aquinas and Bicol University. Fortunately, most of the students and faculty saw through their lies and are against Balikatan. The military has also implemented a curfew in some barangays in Legazpi City like San Roque, saying that because it is near the naval facility. In the town of Santo Domingo all the barangay captains were summoned by the Army to support the Balikatan exercises,” added the patriotic professor.

Meanwhile Joel Ascutia, chairman of CONDOR-PISTON-Bikol said, “A certain policeman named Batumbakal went to the jeepney terminals in Guinobatan and Jovellar, Albay and specifically asked for our members. He said that they were ordered by the military to do this,”

“This is a direct harassment on our ranks and a violation of our right to livelihood as well as our freedom of expression. But we have news to the military we will still participate in the caravan and we are already mulling to file charges against them,” said Ascutia.

Bisuña further says, “The worst the AFP has done so far is the killing of Rafaela Polborido, 1 year and 4 months old and the injury of her family by a grenade launched by elements of the 901st Infantry Brigade in Brgy Balanac, Ligao City, Albay.

“It is very ironic that Brgy. Balanac where the human rights violations are being done by the military is just adjacent to Brgy. Paulba were a so-called medical mission is to be done by the US troops. Are they ensuring that more people would come to the medical mission by injuring and terrorizing them first?”

“We will not allow these desperate moves of the AFP and the PNP to stop the anti-VFA caravan. By doing this they only emboldened us more and showed the righteousness of our call to junk the VFA, the MDT and the Balikatan exercises,” ended Bisuña.

Read Full Post »

Kanselasyon ng Balikatan sa Bicol ipinanawagan

IPINANAWAGAN ni Gabriela Rep. Luz Ilagan ang kanselasyon ng Balikatan Exercises sa Bicol dahil sa maraming kaso ng paglabag sa karapatang pantao ng mga sundalong Kano sa Mindanao.

Inanunsiyo kamakailan ng Armed Forces of the Philippines na magsisimula sa Abril ang Balikatan Exercises, ehersisyong militar sa pagitan ng US at Pilipinas, sa mga probinsya ng Albay, Masbate, at Sorsogon sa rehiyon ng Bicol.

Pero ayon kay Ilagan, sa mga lugar sa Mindanao na pinaglulunsaran ng Balikatan Exercises, “naghahasik ng terorismo ang mga sundalong Kano sa mga sibilyang komunidad, at kailanman hindi sila pinapanagot sa ilalim ng batas dahil sa immunity na ibinibigay mismo ni Pangulong Arroyo.”

Inihalimbawa ng kongresista ang kaso ni Arsid Baharun of Zamboanga City na nasugatan sa testing missions ng mga sundalong Kano noong 2004. Noong 2006 naman, nasugatan ang 50-anyos na si Bizma Juhan nang sumabog ang isang bomba sa ehersisyong militar ng mga tropang Kano sa Indanan, Sulu.

Nauna nang binatikos ng National Democratic Front- Bicol ang Balikatan Exercises na umano’y layong durugin ang mga komunistang rebeldeng New People’s Army.

“Walang bandidong Abu Sayyaf o anumang teroristang grupo sa Bikol, at wala ring malalang kalamidad sa nakaraang dalawang taon upang gawing batayan ng Balikatan. Malinaw na ang tunay na pakay ng tropang US ay makialam sa palpak na counter-insurgency program ng AFP,” pahayag ni Greg Banares, tagapagsalita ng NDF-Bicol.

Aniya pa, layon ng mga tropang Kano na isarbey ang mga kalupaan sa rehiyon para tiktikan ang NPA at para mapakinabangan ng mga kompanyang US na interesado sa mga likas-yaman doon.

Labag umano ito sa pambansang soberanya at integridad sa teritoryo ng Pilipinas.- Pinoy Weekly Online

Read Full Post »

This is a reaction to the PDI article last January 9, titled “RP-US ‘Balikatan’ goes to Bicol; no war games. The US Armed Forces as well as Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) are blatantly deceiving the public of the real purpose of Balikatan 09 to be held here in Bicol.

The mere fact that they call their intelligence and psychological warfare operations as “humanitarian missions” is unforgivable. They are using these so-called missions to monitor and gather intelligence against farmers and other Bicolanos who voice out their opposition against oppressive government policies. The US troops then pass on the intelligence gathered to the AFP to harass or kill these people. To date since Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo took power in 2001, at least 71, 850 have been victims of human rights violations in Bicol, included are 166 victims of extra-judicial killings.

This is the height of temerity and is very unbecoming for our so-called visitors. If they are indeed visitors then they should be thrown out. Both the US troops and the AFP do not respect anything or anybody. First, the US soldiers trampled our sovereignty by being here and meddling in our country’s affairs and second, they do not even have the decency to say the real reason for their operations here.

These US troops should be declared “persona non grata” by all the governors of the region. If they cannot respect the collective intellect of Bicolanos then they would have nothing but contempt for common folk, which will lead to more human rights violations.

This again is another reason for the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) to be junked and not to let another such travesty to our country happen again.

John Concepcion
Spokesperson
KARAPATAN-Bikol
664 Barangay 17, Legazpi City, Albay

Read Full Post »

News Release

January 9, 2009

Reference: Tessa Lopez, public information officer, BAYAN-Bikol

BAYAN-Bikol: “Balikatan 09 is a disguised intelligence and psywar operation!”

US troops should be declared “persona non grata”

The militant Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-Bikol (BAYAN-Bikol) lambasted the US Armed Forces as well as Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for blatantly deceiving the public of the real purpose of Balikatan 09 to be held here in Bicol.

According to Tessa Lopez, public information officer of BAYAN-Bikol, “Both the US troops and the AFP do not respect anything or anybody. First, they trampled on our sovereignty by being here and meddling in our country’s affairs and second, they do not even have the decency to say the real reason for their operations here”

“These US military troops should be declared “persona non grata” by all the governors of the region. If they cannot respect the intelligence of Bicolanos then they would have nothing but contempt for common folk, which will lead to more human rights violations” said Lopez.

“The mere fact that they call their intelligence and psychological warfare operations as “humanitarian missions” is unforgivable. They are using these so-called missions to monitor and gather intelligence against farmers and other people who voice out their opposition against oppressive government policies. The US troops then pass on the intelligence gathered to the AFP to harass or kill these people. This is the height of temerity and is very unbecoming for our so-called visitors. If they are indeed visitors then they should be thrown out,” added the militant leader.

“This again is another reason for the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) to be junked and not to let another such travesty to our country happen again,” ended Lopez.

Balikatan 09 is the 25th Balikatan exercise since the VFA was signed. # # #

Read Full Post »

Bikolanong Makabayan Ayaw sa Balikatan!

Read Full Post »

This is a recent report in the GMA Network’s Regional News regarding Balikatan in Bicol.

NDF calls for opposition to ‘Balikatan’ in Bicol

MANILA, Philippines – Communist rebels have vowed to resist the upcoming RP-US Balikatan exercises that will be held in the Bicol region this year.National Democratic Front of the Philippines-Bicol spokesman Gregorio Bañares said residents in the region should not be fooled by US claims of “humanitarian missions.”

“Para sa US, magkasinghalaga ang pagpatay ng isang ekstremista at ang mga ‘humanitarian missions’ sa kontra-insurhensya. Kung kaya’t ginagamit nito ang mga pekeng ‘humanitarian missions’ upang magsarbey ng karagatan at kalupaan ng bansa at maniktik laban sa rebolusyunaryong kilusan (For the United States, the humanitarian missions are just a cover for surveying Philippine terrain and spying on the revolutionary movement),” Bañares said in a statement on the Communist Party of the Philippines website.

Several provinces in Bicol are considered infested by New People’s Army (NPA), armed wing of the CPP and NDFP.

On the other hand, Bañares said the exercises are a form of US military intervention.

This is a form of US military intervention that violates our national sovereignty and territorial integrity, he said.

Because of these, he urged residents in Bicol to resist the Balikatan exercises, which are reportedly due to start this February.

“Walang bandidong Abu Sayyaf o anumang teroristang grupo sa Bikol, at wala ring malalang kalamidad sa nakaraang dalawang taon upang gawing batayan ng BALIKATAN EXERCISES. Malinaw na ang tunay na pakay ng tropang US ay makialam sa palpak na counter-insurgency program ng AFP laban sa CPP-NPA-NDF (There is no Abu Sayyaf or terrorist group in Bicol. Neither is there any calamity. It is clear that the objective of the Balikatan exercise is to bolster the government’s failed counterinsurgency efforts),” he said. GMANews.TV

Read Full Post »

TV Patrol Bicol episode January 8, 2009, reported the recently conducted AFP-Bicol press conference with regards to the 25th Balikatan exercises in Bicol which will commence by April, 2009.

According to declarations of US Military and AFP spokespersons, the provinces chosen as the primary sites of Balikatan are Masbate, Sorsogon and Albay. They will be concentrating in the 3rd district of Albay, Municipalities of Uson and Mobo in Masbate and Municipalities of Juban and Irosin in Sorsogon.

The US Military spokesperson, Captain Kelly Schmader declared that they are committed to conducting Humanitarian Missions and nothing else.

By the 1st week of April, Medical Missions will be commenced and even veterinarians will also be available.

By the 2nd week of April, they will start the Infrastructure project, wherein construction of water facilities will be the priority. The construction materials for these projects will be purchased mainly in Bicol to help the industry.

The US Government/US Military had initially budgeted $450,000 USD for these projects.

Watch the full report about this at TV Patrol Bicol, January 8, 2009 episode by downloading the video.

What the US Military says about this Balikatan exercises in Bicol being purely Humanitarian Missions is all very well, but we must not forget that they have also said the same about the previous Balikatan exercises in Mindanao which culminated to cases of civilian executions, killings, damage of property, and other military atrocities and abuses of power committed shamelessly by no less than US military servicemen and AFP personnel who are part of the Balikatan.

Let us also not forget about the Subic Rape Case wherein several members of US troops from Balikatan were involved – Lance Cpl. Daniel Smith and 3 other US military servicemen were convicted of sexually assaulting and gang raping 22 year-old Nicole, a Filipino.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »