Posts Tagged ‘us-rp joint military exercsies’

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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Bakit laging tumataas ang presyo ng langis?

Ang pana-panahong akyat-baba ng presyo ay bahagya at bunga ng ispekulasyon. Tumataas ang presyo ng langis sa pandaigdigang pamilihan dahil sa tumitinding desperasyon ng kapitalista upang palakihin ang tubo sa pamamagitan ng ispekulasyon.

Hindi mga artipisyal na pagbabago sa suplay at demand ang nagbubunsod sa pagbabago ng presyo ng langis —- ang mga ito ay nililikha lamang ng mas mapagpasyang kapangyarihan sa industriya ng langis, ang imperyalistang US.

Ang US ang pangunahing imperyalistang bansa na kumukontrol sa pandaigdigang industriya ng langis

Ang nagdidikta ng saligang presyo ng krudong langis sa pandaigdigang pamilihan ay ang kartel ng mga dambuhalang transnasyunal na mga korporasyon. Habang kontrolado nito ang eksplorasyon, repinerya at distribusyon ng produktong petrolyo, tiyak na hindi mahihinto ang pagtaas ng presyo nito.

Bakit tinututulan ng CONDOR-PISTON ang US-RP Balikatan military exercises?

Ang US-RP Balikatan military exercises ang instrumento ng imperyalistang US upang mapanatili ang geopolitical na mga interes nito sa Asia-Pacific region. Sa taunang Balikatan exercises sa bansa, patuloy na nakakapagmantini dito ng presensya ng tropang US kahit wala nang base militar.

Nakasaad sa 1995 East Asia Strategy Report ng US Department of Defense: ang presensya ng pwersang militar ng US sa Asya ay mahigpit na nakaugnay sa pang-ekonomya at iba pang interes ng US sa bahagi ito ng daigdig, ang forward deployment ng tropang US ay absolutong rekisito upang maprotektahan ang mga kontrolado nitong “market” at mga interes nito.

Ang Balikatan military exercises ay instrumento ng imperyalismo upang higit pang dambungin ang yaman ng mga bansa, kabilang na ang Pilipinas. Ito ang nagtitiyak na tuluy-tuloy na nasa kontrol ng US ang global market.

Ang Balikatan military exercises ay panlulupig sa soberanya ng bansa. Ang malakihang pagpasok ng tropang Kano sa bansa ay panghihimasok sa kasarinlan at integridad ng Pilipinas.

Imperyalismong US, Kaaway ng Mamamayan

Pandarambong sa Ekonomya, Tutulan

Panlulupig sa Soberanya ng Bansa, Labanan

US Troops Out Now!

CONDOR-PISTON (Concerned Drivers and Operators for Reforms, Inc.) -Bikol

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Here are last year’s news gathered and found online regarding the Joint RP-US War Exercises BALIKATAN in Bicol.

From Balita.ph, October 22, 2008

RP-US Balikatan set in Bicol next year

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 20 — Preparations are underway for the holding of an RP-US Balikatan exercise next year in Bicol, a top military official said over the weekend.

From Mindanao, a war-torn region of Southern Philippines, the RP-US Balikatan exercises will be moving to the Bicol Peninsula early next year, the military official of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) who requested not to be named said.

He said the exercise will be held in Bicol by February next year, following an advance survey of the RP-US Balikatan working group that had visited the provinces of Albay and Sorsogon including the island province of Masbate over the weekend here to take a look at the Bicol terrain and territory.

Bicol is an ideal site for the exercise because of its areas in terms of land, sea and air.

Military reports said Bicol is one of the hotbeds of insurgency for the past three decades. The provinces of Albay and Sorsogon are considered hot spots as far as the insurgency problem is concerned.

Undersecretary Edilberto Adan of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), in-charge of the RP-US military exercise, in his visit here last year said there was a strong possibility for a joint RP-US Balikatan to be held in Bicol because the area is very suitable for a joint military exercise.

He said the joint military exercise would be beneficial to the country, specifically the AFP, who would learn new techniques in warfare, including the latest weapons while the US soldiers would learn more from us new jungle warfare maneuvers with the terrain the region has.

The site inspection was confirmed by Army Col. Ariel Bernardo, commanding officer of the Army’s 901st Infantry Brigade based in Daraga, Albay.

Bernardo’s brigade covers the territories of Albay, Sorsogon and the two island provinces of Catanduanes and Masbate.

Bernardo said the advance party conducted initial location survey visits last October 8-12 for probable sites of the joint military exercises.

Bernardo, said the exercise would include, among others, humanitarian missions such as construction of school building, water system facilities and farm to market road with medical and dental mission components.

For instance, the US troops will also conduct a humanitarian mission in the municipality of Cabusao in Camarines Sur.

In 2006, the US Navy Seabees partnered with the Armed Forces of the Philippines in aiding the typhoon-stricken communities in Bicol region especially typhoon-ravaged Albay after super typhoon Reming battered the region November that year, killing more than 1,000 people and rendering 30,000 families homeless.

The usual joint RP-US military exercises would last for six months under the Balikatan’s Terms of Reference (TOR). US contingents are assigned to brigade-level units and allowed battalion-level operations as observers, trainors and advisers although they are prohibited from operating on their own. (PNA) ###

From Bicol Mail, October 23, 2008

All set for RP-US Balikatan in Bicol

CAMP ELIAS ANGELES, Pili, Camarines Sur — The Bicol Region has been considered as the latest site for the conduct of “Balikatan 2009,” a humanitarian mission being carried out jointly by the Philippine and the United States governments.

In fact, last October 8–11, 2008 the Civil-Military Operations (CMO) Technical Working Group of the RP–US Balikatan 2009 and a contingent from the 9th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army already conducted a site survey of the calamity prone areas in the provinces of Albay, Sorsogon, Masbate and Camarines Sur.

Balikatan 2009 will mainly focus on medical and dental mission, veterinary and some engineering activities like construction of water system, school buildings and repair of roads.

Major Christopher A. Morales, PA spokesman and Chief of the Division Public Affairs Office, 9th Infantry (Spear) Division, Philippine Army, explained that Balikatan is an annual bilateral RP/US exercises committed to promote interoperability, security and stability.

The Philippines and the US have a long relationship which includes the more than 57–year Mutual Defense Treaty which was signed in 1957, the longest in RP/US history. Under the Visiting Forces Agreement that the two countries signed, the U.S. will continue to honor its commitment to support the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

According to Maj. Gen. Jeffrey S. Sodusta, Commander of 9ID, the feasible conduct of humanitarian activity as part of Balikatan 2009 (shoulder – to – shoulder) here in Bicol Region will bring improvement to the community particularly in uplifting the living and health condition of the residents in areas covered by the joint exercises. He stressed that the joint activity in Bicol is not meant to be military training exercise but a humanitarian and charitable gesture aimed at winning the hearts and minds of the people, especially those who are in need of government support and assistance in terms of health care and infrastructure and livelihood development.

AN RP – US BALIKATAN team confers with civilians (left photo) as its members visit possible sites to be covered by the 6-monh joint humanitarian mission in Bicol. Engineers from a US contingent (right photo) survey a road to be recommended for rehabilitation when the Balikatan exercises formally start.


From Business Mirror, October 26, 2008:

RP-US Balikatan transfers to Bicol

LEGAZPI CITY—From Mindanao, where separatist rebels and Moro bandits are operating, Filipino and American soldiers will move in early next year to the insurgency-torn Bicol region for 2009’s version of RP-US Balikatan Exercise.

The war games will take place under the noses of the communist rebels holed out at the outskirts of Albay, Camarines Sur, Masbate, Catanduanes and Sorsogon, all Bicol provinces described as hotbeds of the rebellion staged by the communist New People’s Army (NPA), which has been fighting for the establishment of a Marxist state for the past four decades.

As part of the preparations for the military exercise, an advance party of the Balikatan contingent conducted early this month a weeklong survey on the target areas in five of the six Bicol provinces, Col. Ariel Bernardo, commander of the Army’s 901st Infantry Brigade based in Daraga, Albay, said over the weekend.

The province of Camarines Norte, which is outside the Bicol Peninsula, has been excluded from the coverage of the joint military exercises.

Bernardo, whose Army brigade is in charge of counterinsurgency operations in these provinces, except Camarines Sur, said Bicol has been classified as an ideal site for the military exercises because it covers land, sea and air territories that are suited to combat maneuvers.

The region has vast jungles, wide sea area and open-air territories that are strategically positioned for the Balikatan activities, he said.

Likewise, in an earlier visit to this city, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Edilberto Adan, chairman of the RP-US Visiting Forces Agreement Commission that oversees the implementation of the RP-US Balikatan Exercise, clarified that Balikatan is not intended to fight the communist insurgents in the area but the participating troops will fight back to defend themselves if attacked by the rebels.

The joint military exercises will familiarize Filipino soldiers with the modern techniques in warfare, particularly the use of sophisticated weapons, while the Americans would learn new jungle combat operations, Adan said.

The NPA rebels could watch the RP-US war games from a distance, Adan said, adding the benefits that Bicol could derive from Balikatan are the humanitarian activities like medical missions and civic actions such as the construction of school building, roads and other infrastructure that would be conducted during the conduct of the exercise.

After Supertyphoons Reming and Milenyo left hundreds of people dead and rendered heavy damage to many areas in Bicol in late 2006, US Navy Seabees provided relief assistance to distressed communities in the region.

Last week the USS Reuben James (FFG-57), an Oliver-Hazard Perry-Class guided missile frigate, dropped anchor at the Albay Gulf off the coastline here for a weeklong community service to poor city residents. It also delivered medical supplies to the City Health Office.

US warships call on the area as part of the preparations for the Balikatan that is expected to start in February next year.

It will be the 25th joint RP-US war exercise.###

BAN BALIKATAN, an alliance of concerned nationalist and patriotic Bicolanos, opposes and condemns the conduct of BALIKATAN in Bicol since this joint military exercise only ensures the heightened US military intervention in our country.

Opposition and condemnation of the 25th Joint RP-US Military Exercises or BALIKATAN in Bicol has already been a major issue by Bagong Alyansang Makabayan – Bicol (BAYAN-Bicol), KARAPATAN-Bicol and various progressive and nationalist media, professionals and church people during the International Human Rights Day rallies last December 10, 2008.

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