Posts Tagged ‘no to balikatan’

MANILA — The recent deaths of two US soldiers in Sulu have strengthened calls for the abrogation of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) between the Philippines and the United States.

Staff Sgt. Jack Martin and Sgt. First Class Christopher Shaw were killed together with a Philippine Marine identified only as a Private First Class Estrada on Sept. 28 when their vehicle struck a landmine in Barangay Kagay, Indanan town, Sulu.

Members of the Mindanao-based human rights group Kawagib visited Sulu in the wake of the Sept. 28 explosion and reported being informed by residents of Barangay Kagay that the vehicle which carried Martin, Shaw and Estrada was on its way to Barangay Batu-Bato, also in Indanan, transporting supplies.

“But they didn’t know what kind of supplies these were,” Kawagib secretary-general Bai Ali Indayla told Bulatlat in an interview. “These could have been food; these could also have been bullets.”

Kawagib members also reported that since the explosion, the military has conducted indiscriminate aerial bombings not only in Indanan, but also in nearby Panamao. A bridge leading to Maimbung and Parang was also shelled.

According to Indayla, the deaths of Martin and Shaw have raised fears among Sulu’s residents that the US may intervene and cause the escalation of the armed conflict in their province. “In fact, so many have evacuated for fear of being caught in the crossfire,” she told Bulatlat.

Indayla said the deaths of Martin and Shaw only serves to underscore the urgency of abrogating the VFA.

Passed by the Philippine Senate in 1999 and signed that same year by then President Joseph Estrada, the VFA grants extraterritorial and extrajudicial “rights” to US servicemen visiting the Philippines. It made possible the Balikatan military exercises, which have been held annually since 2002; and is also invoked to justify the presence of the Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines (JSOTF-P).

The VFA has several times courted controversy in the last decade, with critics assailing it for violating sovereignty, among other reasons. Others have also pointed to the social costs of US military presence in the Philippines, not the least of which, they say, are the rise in prostitution and other forms of abuse against women.

The explosion that killed Martin, Shaw, and Estrada took place just days after the passage of a Senate resolution calling for the renegotiation or termination of the VFA.

On Sept. 23, the Senate passed without objection Senate Resolution No. 1356 calling for a renegotiation or termination of the VFA. Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, chairperson of the Legislative Oversight Committee on the VFA (Lovfa), sponsored the resolution, with senators Rodolfo Biazon, Joker Arroyo, Richard Gordon, Gregorio Honasan II, Panfilo Lacson, and Francis Pangilinan as co-sponsors.

But for Roland Simbulan, an expert on Philippine-US foreign and military relations, the call should go beyond renegotiation.

“Why just renegotiate when we do not need an onerous treaty like this?” Simbulan said in an interview with Bulatlat. “The call should be for immediate abrogation.”

Among the issues Santiago raised in her sponsorship speech for SR 1356 was that of the length of time that US troops are allowed to stay in the Philippines. This is an issue on which the VFA is silent. The VFA’s preamble merely states that “from time to time elements of the United States armed forces may visit the Republic of the Philippines.” Within the VFA, the term “United States personnel” is defined as “United States military and civilian personnel temporarily in the Philippines in connection with activities approved by the Philippine Government.”

“In the language of constitutional law, the VFA is void for vagueness, because it fails to define the terms ‘visit,’ ‘temporary,’ and ‘military activities,’” Santiago said. “Under the vagueness doctrine, it is impermissible for a statute to delegate basic policy matters to administrators, to such a degree as to lead to arbitrary and discriminatory application.”

According to Simbulan, the issue goes beyond the length of time that US troops can stay in the Philippines.

“First, there is the issue of unequal treatment before our own laws,” Simbulan said. “Why should groups of armed foreign soldiers entering our territory be given special rights and privileges like exemption from our immigration, customs and quarantine laws, exemption from berthing and port fees, Land Transportation Office requirements, and even being given special treatment in case of violations of our criminal laws or other laws in the country? There is no reciprocity for these rights and privileges that we have given them, which are not even accorded to foreign diplomats.”

Second, Simbulan added, “why are we allowing and even inviting foreign troops to interfere with our internal problems like kidnapping cases, and other peace and order problems? Rebellion and insurgency are also internal problems that our government is asking them to interfere in clandestinely. Otherwise, why are the Balikatan joint training exercises which are ostensibly the ‘activities’ being covered by the VFA being held in the most volatile areas of our country? If these were purely for military training purposes, then they should be held outside the conflict areas like in the Philippine Army training camps in Nueva Ecija or in Tanay, Rizal.”

He said that “under the cover or let me even call it camouflage of the VFA and Balikatan, we have allowed foreign troops to engage in secret combat operations for counter-insurgency, even allowing them to construct ‘forward operating bases’ inside Philippine Army camps, which is a violation of the Philippine Constitution. Official US documents call them ‘forward operating bases’, but US Embassy officials here and the Armed Forces of the Philippines still deny that they are bases.”

Allowing them to engage in counterinsurgency in both covert or overt ways is already in violation of the Constitution, Simbulan said. “US specialists in counterinsurgency, covert operations, psy-ops and intelligence from the elite units of the US Army are already here actively involved in combat by being embedded in many combat units of the local armed forces. But usually, they engage in their own ‘surgical missions’ independently. This is a transgression of our national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he pointed out.

“So the issue of their length of time in their stay here is an issue, but not the fundamental issue. They can always skirt this issue by rotating their troops for a specified time but keep their presence all year round, as they have been doing since 2002 in the permanent military bases and facilities worth more than $14 million that they have constructed.”

A press release by the US Department of Defense described Martin and Shaw as being “in the Philippines supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.”

Operation Enduring Freedom is the official name given to the US government’s military response to the terrorist attack of Sept. 11, 2001 in New York City. It entails a series of anti-“terrorism” activities in Afghanistan, the Philippines, the Horn of Africa, Trans-Sahara, and Pakinsi Gorge.

The Philippine Constitution prohibits foreign military presence in the country, “except under a treaty duly concurred in by the Senate and, when the Congress so requires, ratified by a majority of the votes cast by the people in a national referendum held for that purpose, and recognized as a treaty by the other contracting State.”

The US government does not recognize the VFA as a treaty, but merely considers it an “executive agreement”.

“For us, the VFA should have been abrogated a long time ago,” Indayla said. “With this incident that claimed the lives of two American soldiers, residents of Sulu are fearful that the war in their province will escalate.” (Bulatlat.com)

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Reference: Dean Roland Tolentino, spokesperson
September 15, 2009

Pagbabago! People’s Movement for Change calls for the immediate termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), in light of recent revelations by Ret. Lt. Senior Grade Nancy Gadian and statements of high ranking US officials confirming the involvement of US troops in combat operations in the Philippines.

Pagbabago! welcomes the Resolution of the Senate on the Renegotiation or Termination of the VFA, as introduced by Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago, and already signed by four other senators. The resolution underscored the unconstitutionality of the VFA, challenging the Supreme Court’s decision on the Nicolas v. Romulo in February 2009.

No less than US Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced that 600-elite troops are staying in the country for counterinsurgency operations; while Col. Bill Coultrup, Commander of the Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines describes his task force’s work as 20 percent combat-related, designed to “help the armed forces of the Philippines neutralize high value targets…”

We fully support Ret. Lt. Senior Grade Nancy Gadian in her testimony on US troops’ presence and operations in the Philippines. Ms. Gadian’s statement that US troops have stayed in the Philippines for the last “seven years, 365 days in a year” and, are stationed in permanent structures in various camps in Mindanao, confirms the permanent basing of supposedly ‘visiting’ US troops in the country, in violation of the Philippine Constitution.

Ms. Gadian testified based on her personal knowledge of the US military’s direct role in intelligence operations, by determining enemy targets and their location, and briefing Philippine military officials in conducting operations against these targets. She also attests that US troops are embedded in Philippine military units operating in Mindanao.

Ms. Gadian testified further that US forces unilaterally conduct some of their operations without informing Philippine authorities, in violation of the Constitution and even of the VFA.

We admire Ms. Gadian’s courage in exposing the corruption in the Balikatan exercises and the US troops’ involvement in the country’s internal affairs. With Ms. Gadian’s testimony, there is now factual basis in the latest Supplemental Motion for Reconsideration on the Nicolos v. Romulo case pending before the Supreme Court.

The actual conduct and operations of US troops staying in the country refers to the VFA as the legal framework, even if the VFA does not stipulate provisions for permanent basing and joint military exercises such as the Balikatan. For ten years, the VFA has been the basis for the unbridled entry and stay of the US troops in the country.

We call on the other Senators to support the Resolution to abrogate the VFA. Our legislators, especially those vying for higher positions come the 2010 elections, should make clear their stand on the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. #

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Reference: Salvador “Baddy” France Chairman- LAMBAT-Bikol

Contact No: 435-5211 or 09089499604

Hitsa ng mga mangingisda sa Bikol para sa pangisdaan at kalikasan, kabuhayan at kapayapaan.

Magkakaroon ng”Fluvial Protest” o Paglalayag Laban sa Balikatan ang mga mangingisda ng Albay sa pangunguna ng LAMBAT-BIKOL

Petsa at Oras: March 16, 2009/ 8:00am- 11:00am

Oras ng programa sa Legazpi City Port: 9:00 am- 11:00am

Ang dambuhalang oktopus sa daigdig na kinakatawan ng imperyalistang US na pangunahing sumisipsip at nagpapahirap sa kabuhayan ng mga mamamayan lalo na sa mga magsasaka at mangingisda ay nanghihimasok din sa ating soberanya. Dadaong ngayong Marso sa Kabikolan ang mga US warship para sa RP-US Balikatan Exercises.

Sa gitna ng sobra-sobrang paghihirap ng mga mangingisda sa Bikol dulot ng samu’t-saring dahilan tulad ng:

  • maliit na huli ng isda sa dagat dahil nilason na ng operasyon ng Lafayette ang dagat sa Albay Gulf
  • palagiang pagkakaroon ng red tide sa karagatan ng Sorsogon,
  • pagpasok at paglimas sa yamang dagat ng mga commercial fishing vessels sa mga munisipyong pangisdaan sa Ragay Gulf, Masbate at Camarines Norte,
  • pagpapalayas sa mga mangingisda na nakatira sa mga baybayin para bigyang daan ang mga proyektong eko-turismo ng gubyerno katulad ng nangyayari sa Embarcadero sa Legazpi City, at iba pang mga beach resorts na dinidevelop sa Caramoan, Camarines Sur.

Mas pinalalala ang kalagayang ito ng makadayuhan at pabor sa mga kapitalistang mga batas at programa ng gubyerno tulad ng Fisheries Code, Agricultural and Fisheries Modernization Act, Mining Act of 1995 at gayundin ang kapabayaan at kawalan ng suporta ng gubyerno sa sektor ng mga mangingisda.

Ang lugmok na kalagayang ng mga mangingisda at magsasaka sa Bikol ang idinadahilan kung bakit andito daw ang mga Amerikanong sundalo para makatulong daw ang BALIKATAN na “humanitarian mission” nga daw ang isasagawa. Malaking kasinungalingan at kayabangan ito!

Hindi pa nga dumadating ang bulto ng mga sundalong Kano sa Bikol grabe nang pananakot, psywar, pambubugbog sa mamamayan, pangunahin sa mga magsasaka at mangingisda na hinahagupit na ng Balikatan clearing operations. Para sa paghahanda sa pagdating ng mga sundalong Amerikano, ang mga dadaungan at pupuntahan ng mga ito ay tinambakan na ng pwersa ng AFP.

Labis na pangamba ang nararamdaman ng mga mangingisada sa isinasagawang urban SOT sa mga kostal na barangay sa Albay at sa malawakang “clearing operations” ng AFP. Pinapatawag nila ang mga Brgy Councils at binibigyan ng babala ang mga mangingisda. Ang CMO unit ng Philippine Army ay nagtatalakay ng mga paninira laban sa mga organisasyong tumututol sa isasagawang BALIKATAN exercises sa Bikol. Ang Bureau Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) sana ang ahensya na dapat na tumulong sa mga mangingisda, ay nagpalabas pa ng pahayag na magkakaroon daw ng anim na buwang “fish ban” o pagbawal sa pangingisda sa loob ng 15 kilometrong perimeter mula sa baybaying dagat sa mga lugar na kung saan dadaong ang mga barko ng US troops.

Sa kalagayang may presensya ng napakaraming militar sa kostal na mga barangay sa Albay, malaki ang posibilidad na tataas pa ang mga insidenteng tulad ng pambabaril at pagpatay sa mangingisdang si Domingo Barbado sa Adiangao, San Jose, Camarines Sur.

Ang salaysay ng mga mangingisda ng Adiangao, wala silang mahuli ng araw na iyon kaya nagpasiya silang bumalik sa pampang ng Adiangao. Bigla na lamang silang hinarang ng bangka ng BFAR. Nakasakay sa bangka ng BFAR-Task Force Kalikasan ang humigit-kumulang 20 kalalakihan na armado ng mahahabang baril. Kasabay sa grupong ito si Mayor Jaime Delena ng Presentacion, naka-sibilyan subalit armado rin ng mahabang baril. Pinagbabaril ang walang kalaban-labang mga mangingisda. Mula noong Marso 3, walang nangingisda mula sa mga taga-Adiangao at maging sa mga taga-Presentacion, Camarines Sur.

Hindi papayag ang mga Bikolanong mangingisda sa ganitong sitwasyon.

Makikipagkaisa ang mga mangingisda at mga magsasaka sa iba’t-iba pang sektor at malawak na mamamayan upang ipaglaban ang kaligtasan at kapakanan ng mga mangingisda at magsasaka.

Tutulan ang pandarambong ng US ating likas na yaman.Pangalagaan ang ating karagatan, kalikasan at kabuhayan.

Tutulan ang militarisasyon sa kalunsuran at kanayunan.

Ibasura ang VFA upang matigil ang Balikatan exercises, at mapalayas ang US troops sa bansa.

Proteksyonan ang buhay at kabuhayan ng mga Bikolano.

Proteksyonan ang kalikasan at kapayapaan ng mga komunidad ng Bikol.

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Ref: Jenelyn Nagrampa, Convenor of Women’s Movement Against Balikatan (WOMB)

We just recently commemorated the International Working Women’s Day last March 8, but this year’s commemoration carries a special meaning more so for Bicolano women because the Balikatan exercises are to be conducted on the region. We celebrated our womanhood by marching on the streets and forming an alliance called Women’s Movement Against Balikatan (WOMB) to show our vehement opposition against the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and the Balikatan.

WOMB symbolizes the nurturing character of women who are willing to give their all to protect their children against harm. The Balikatan will definitely put Bicolanos in harm’s way not only because of the military operations to be conducted by US and Filipino troops but due to the moral decay they will bring to the region.

The presence of the US forces in the region will further aggravate prostitution and the use of illegal drugs and substances, which is already a deep-rooted social problem that our government refuses to resolve. Add to this the fact that in the 1990’s GABRIELA has filed over 97 cases of rape and sexual assault against various US servicemen in Subic and Clark. Fifteen of these cases involved children as victims. Aside from these three thousand other cases of sexual abuse involving both women and children were also filed during 1980 – 1988. All of these cases are unresolved. Not even one US serviceman was punished.

We hope that Nicole is the last victim of the VFA and we are calling on Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to immediately scrap this onerous treaty and cancel the Balikatan exercises. We as Filipinas should also assert the sovereignty of our country.

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dsc00013Bicolanos in Metro Manila converge with national militant mass organizations to condemn the Visiting Forces Agreement and protest against the conduct of  Balikatan in Bicol

Bicolanos in Metro Manila converge with national militant mass organizations to condemn the Visiting Forces Agreement and protest against the conduct of Balikatan in Bicol

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The brave, the strong Bikolano faces a new adversary.

ORAGON (Organisadong Bikolano Para Sa Nasyunalismo) LABAN SA BALIKATAN, a formation of Metro Manila-based Bicolanos, has expressed its unity with fellow kababayans to battle against the RP-US Balikatan war exercises in Bicol. Thousands of Bicolanos have already commenced on February 22 a region-wide caravan that will conclude on February 25 with a massive display of protest against the RP-US Visiting Forces Agreement and the Balikatan war exercises in Bicol.

The provinces of Albay, Sorsogon, and Masbate have been identified by the government and the Armed Forces of the Philippines as sites for the war games, despite deceiving declarations by the military that only “humanitarian missions” shall be conducted.

ORAGON contends that the Balikatan war exercises, apart from being an explicit encroachment on Philippine sovereignty, likewise amounts to intensified militarization of the Bicol provinces. ORAGON believes that the people of Bicol, however resilient, do not need another disaster in the form of Balikatan, the region having been recently ravaged by supertyphoons, lahar flows and landslides, red tide, and crop infestations.

Past Balikatan experiences have only proven that the poor rural communities bear the brunt of military operations. In fact, a 1-year old baby girl from Barangay Balanac of Ligao, Albay has already been tragically killed when soldiers from the 901st Infantry brigade of the Philippine Army fired grenade launchers during a clearing operation. The operation has also left 9 members of the baby’s family and relatives wounded by shrapnels, and their homes burned. It was found out that Balanac’s neighboring barangay shall be a site for balikatan, hence the military clearing operations.

Balikatan war exercises are inclusions under the RP-US Visiting Forces Agreement, which ORAGON consequently opposes. For its part, ORAGON vows to contribute to the swelling protests back home against Balikatan. Being composed by students, professionals, and community residents in Metro Manila, the group plans to reach out to more Bicolanos to gather support and give battle to Balikatan in Bicol.

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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.

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Sektor ng Transportasyon Magkaisa, Tutulan ang Balikatan

Magsasagawa ng protesta ang sektor ng transportasyon sa pangunguna ng CONDOR-Bicol, ng BUSINA LABAN SA BALIKATAN simula 5:00-5:30 ng hapon ngayong araw, Pebrero 20, 2009 para ipahayag ang pagtutol sa isasagawang ika-25 BALIKATAN Exercise na gaganapin dito sa Bicol at sa iba pang bahagi ng bansa.

Naniniwala ang CONDOR na panabing lamang sa tunay na pakay ng Estados Unidos ang “humanitarian missions” ng BALIKATAN Exercise. Kapalit ng mga serbisyong gamot, daan at repair ng mga paaralan ay sisingilin tayo ng mas pinatinding mga polisiya sa pulitika, ekonomiya at militar para patuloy na makapagdomina ang kanilang bansa. Ang katangiang  ito ng US ay pinatunayan ng maraming karanasan mismo ng ating bansa at iba pang mga bansa sa daigdig.

Tinututulan ng sektor ng transportasyon ang dominasyon ng Estados Unidos dahil numero unong nagpapahirap sa sektor ang mga polisiyang imposisyon nito sa bansa gaya ng Oil Deregulation Law, ang 12% Vat sa langis at ang bago ngayon na 200-1,200% na pagtaas sa mga babayaran sa mga traffic at administrative violations at at mga administrative fees at charges sa driver’s at conductor’s license na ipapatupad sa ilalim ng LTO Department Order #2008-39 at Department Order 2008-38 na nakatakdang iimplementa ngayong taon.

Dagdag na pasanin ito sa sektor ng transportasyon na patuloy nang dumaranas na higit na kahirapan dahil sa pagbapabago-bagong presyo ng mga produktong petrolyo, nagtataasang  presyo ng mga peyesa, samu’t saring bayarin sa pagkuha ng prangkesa, rehistrasyon, nagtataasang bilihin, at sebisyo sosyal. Napakalinaw ng motibo ng DOTC at LTO na ang pagpataw ng mga dagdag na bayarin ay hindi upang disiplinahin ang sektor kundi patuloy na gatasan o pagkakitaan ng gobyerno ang dugo at pawis ng buong sektor ng trasportasyon upang magkamal ng malaking pera para sa kanilang mga layaw at interes dahil sa talamak ng na korapsyon ng pamahalaang ito. Ang pera na dapat sa ay mapupunta na sa mga hapag kainan ng aming pamilya ay legal na nanakawin at pagpapapasasaan.

Kung kaya kami kasama ang buong pamilya namin at mga mamamayan ay tumututol sa lahat ng anyo ng maniobra ng Rehimeng Arroyo at Estados Unidos para mandambong sa mamamayang Pilipino at sa yaman ng ating bansa.

Mariin naming tinututulan ng BALAKATAN Exercise, ang Visiting forces Agreement at mga polisiyang direktang tumatama sa aming sektor.


Ibasura ang Oil Deregulation Law, 12% VAT sa langis,



Reference: Joel Ascutia, President

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Press Release
Reference: Ken Serrano, Spokeperson of UMALAB-CA

“Visiting Forces Agreement, Ibasura! Manindigan para sa Soberanya at Integridad ng ating Bansa!”

Nitong nakaraang linggo lamang ay dineklara ng Korte Suprema at kinikilala ang Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) na konstitusyonal sa botong 9-4 pabor sa VFA ngunit tanging ang Pilipinas lamang ang kumikilala dito at ang bansang Estados Unidos ay hindi kailangang pilitin na ipatupad dahil walang ratipikasyon na isinagawa ang US sa sarili nitong batas.

Malaking insulto sa ating bansa na ipagpilitan na konstitusyonal ang VFA gayung hindi naman kinikilala ng US ang kasunduang ito laluna sa kinasangkutang kaso ni Lance Corporal Daniel Smith sa usaping kostudiya ng Pilipinas at ikulong sa National Bilibid Prison dahil sa pagkakasala nito sa ating batas sa panggagahasa kay “Nicole”.

Isang malaking hamon ito sa ating mga mambabatas kung kaya’t ang mga kinatawan ng militanteng grupo sa loob ng mababang kapulungan ay naghapag ng resolusyon ang House Resolution 458 that calls for the abrogation of the VFA in light of the many cases of US troops’ violations of Philippine laws (Including the case of Lance Corporal Daniel Smith) noon pang Pebrero 12, 2008 at hanggang sa ngayon ay patuloy na isinusulong.

Maituturing din na pagyurak ito sa ating Soberanya at Integridad bilang isang bansang nagsasarili ngunit sa esensya ay kontrolado ng Imperyalismong US. Ang VFA ay higit pa sa kanyang pakahulugan sa “Visiting Forces” dahil hindi lamang pagbisita ng mga sundalo ang layunin ng Balikatan kundi  pananatili ng pwersa ng US sa ating bansa sa anumang oras, panahon, panig ng bansa na gugustuhin ng US Troops na mistulang napakalaking base militar ang buong kapuluan ng bansa ng walang limitasyon.

Naniniwala din kami na maninindigan ang ilang makabayang lehislador sa Senado at Kongreso upang hadlangan ang VFA at tuluyang maibasura o maratipika ang mga probisyong makaisang panig na pumapabor lamang sa Estados Unidos at ang sambayanang Pilipino ay titindig upang labanan ang labis na pagsasamantalang ito sa ating bansa.

Mariing tutulan ng UMALAB-CA o Ugnayan ng Mamamayan Laban sa Balikatan-Camarines Sur Alliance ang Balikatan ’09 sa rehiyong Bikol. Hinihimok din namin ang mga makabayang Bikolano na manindigan laban sa Balikatan ’09 at VFA.

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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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