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The Bikolano Alliance for Nationalism against Balikatan (BAN BALIKATAN) and KARAPATAN-Bikol condemned the killing of a 1 year old child in the Balikatan clearing operations conducted by elements of the 901st Infantry Brigade in Purok 5, Brgy Balanac, Ligao City, Albay.

According to Prof. Jocelyn Bisuña, spokesperson of BAN BALIKATAN, “This is unforgivable! A child is now gone because the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is targeting Filipino citizens just to please their US foreign master,”

“Rafaela Polborido, 1year and 4 months old, died at midnight of February 19 when she succumbed to the wounds she sustained, when soldiers shot and fired grenade launchers on their house. This is part of the continuing harassment and the violation of Bicolanos’ rights by the military. Recently they also harassed drivers and people in Guinobatan and Jovellar in the same province threatening them against joining the anti-Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) caravan,” said Bisuña.

Meanwhile John Concepcion, spokesperson of KARAPTAN-Bikol said, “not only was Rafaela killed her whole family and others were injured as well, Jocelyn Polborido 30 years old, Ina Polborido 5 years old, Daisy Polborido, 4 years old, Eufemia Polborido, 28 years old, Julius Polborido, 2 years old, Andrea, 4 years old, Rose Dalima 31 years old, Roderick Dalima 5 years old, Mary Rose Dalima, 10 months old and Emerson, 9 years old. We are now assisting the families in whatever action they may take to hold the soldiers accountable,”

“We hope that this is the last, but if the Balikatan continues then we fear that more cases like these may happen,” added Concepcion.

“This is the military’s way to intimidate the Bicolano people into agreeing to the Balikatan exercises, but we will not be cowed. The anti-VFA caravan will continue and we will further intensify our struggle against foreign intervention and to junk the VFA and Balikatan,” ended Bisuña.

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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 14, 2009
Reference: Prof. Jocelyn Bisuña, spokesperson, BAN BALIKATAN

BAN BALIKATAN fully agrees with former SC chief Panganiban
Vows to intensify fight against VFA and Balikatan exercises

The Bikolano Alliance for Nationalism against Balikatan (BAN BALIKATAN) fully agrees with former Supreme Court Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban in his call to junk the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and to treat Smith like any other accused.

According to Prof. Jocelyn Bisuña, spokesperson of BAN BALIKATAN, “We are one with former CJ Panganiban in saying that the VFA violates our Constitution. Panganiban says that it is unconstitutional because the United States does not recognize and honor it as a treaty the way the Philippines does, but we add that aside from this it also tramples on our sovereignty,”

“Through the VFA the US has been conducting Balikatan exercises that have mobilized US troops in our country. They have also conducted surveillance and combat operations which have blatantly interfered with our internal affairs,” added Bisuña.

“Consequently, to hide the true purpose of the Balikatan exercises, the US soldiers along with the Armed Forces of the Philippines conduct so-called “humanitarian missions”. It would be naïve for us to think that the US Special Forces came here to Bicol just to deliver their dole-outs. They have clear strategic military objectives along the lines of securing US political and military interests,” said the patriotic professor.

“Our freedom and sovereignty is definitely worth more than a few token medical and engineering missions and many of our countrymen have died fighting for it. It is our duty then to defend it and intensify the campaign against the VFA and the Balikatan exercises” 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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In Albay, 5,000 people expressed their resounding opposition of the conduct of Balikatan 2009 in Bicol and thundered the streets to shout: STOP BALIKATAN! They also told the US Troops to stay out of Albay Province.

Basic sectors protest Balikatan in Albay

Basic sectors protest Balikatan in Albay

In Sorsogon, 7,000 people stormed into the streets shouting NO TO BALIKATAN and encouraging more Sorsoganon folks to speak out against Balikatan and defend our sovereignty.

Sorsoganons by the thousands rally against Balikatan

Sorsoganons by the thousands rally against Balikatan

In Masbate, 8,000 people congested the narrow streets in order to indicate their strong opposition of Balikatan 2009 and no to indignity, intervention, human rights violations, US terrorism and poverty.

In Camarines Sur, 2,000 people flooded the streets shouting out protests and pouring out their indignation of foreign intervention and violations to the Constitution.

Thousands of people went out and marched against Balikatan in Naga City, Camarines Sur

Thousands of people went out and marched against Balikatan in Naga City, Camarines Sur

In Camarines Norte, a substantial number of people also participated in an Outdoor Activity to protest against Balikatan.

All over Bicol today, January 22, 2009, more than 22,000 Bicolano nationalists headed by BAN Balikatan expressed their opposition to US Intervention and terrorism. Bicolanos showed that they will never rest until the US troops have totally been driven out of our country, VFA/MLSA have totally been scrapped, genuine peace has been achieved  and our country has undergone significant and lasting political and economic change.

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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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