“No to US Spratlys Cop”: Groups hold protest vs US war games, spy plane proposal

News Release

July 4, 2012

The umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan today marched to the US embassy in Manila on the occasion of Filipino-American Friendship Day to denounce the ongoing US war games in Mindanao and to express its opposition to proposals to allow US spy planes to conduct flights over the Philippines. The protest in Manila coincided with a protest caravan in Mindanao to protest the CARAT 2012 war games in General Santos province. The group also slammed the PH Department of Foreign Affairs for suggesting that the US play regional police in the disputed area of the Spratlys.

“We don’t need the US policing the South China Sea. US troop build up in the Philippines is a violation of our sovereignty and does nothing to advance the peaceful resolution of the territorial dispute in the South China Sea. On the contrary, US troop build up may even encourage an arms race in the South China Sea between the US and China. China might respond by placing more ships in the disputed region. Where does that leave the Philippines?” said Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.

“The DFA has reached a new low as far as US neo-colonial policy is concerned. Who gave it authority to designate the US as a Spratlys’ Cop in the first place? Are they proposing a new regional, multilateral agreement with the US? The people at the DFA should know that the US will not mediate the dispute and instead will end up controlling the disputed area. Even China knows this!” Reyes said,

The group dismissed as “ridiculous” suggestions by Senator Gregorio Honasan to allow not just US spy planes but the US navy’s 7th fleet to be deployed in the West Philippine Sea. “Honasan’s suggestions smack of mendicant, colonial thinking. It is absurd to think that bringing a US carrier task group in our waters will boost our chances against Chna. Such a move will really provoke an arms race in the region and will certainly escalate tensions and flush peaceful solutions down the drain,” Reyes said.

“Honasan places his faith on the Mutual Defense Treaty, a one sided agreement that does not guarantee US support in the event of external armed attack against the Philippines,” he added.

Bayan also pointed out that US spy planes will not only monitor the South China Sea but will also be used for surveillance of internal affairs of the Philippines as well as the mapping of resources in our country.

“The US keeps telling us of the benefits of US military presence, but in reality, after numerous war games and port calls over the years, our AFP remains backward and ill-equipped. We don’t see how the use of US spy planes can modernize our AFP and lead to a minimum credible defense. The spy planes are exclusively used and controlled by the US. The US is keeping us perpetually dependent so it can dictate on us. Our armed forces will never modernize under this patently unequal arrangement,” Reyes said.

“The increased US military presence in our country serves US power projection in Asia. The US wants to be considered as the number one superpower in Asia. The issue of the PH claims in the West Philippine Sea is just being exploited by the US so it can justify deploying more troops here. The US is not under any obligation under any existing treaty to take the side of the Philippines in the dispute,” he added.

Use of Clark and Subic

Bayan said that the use of US spy planes in the South China Sea will mean that the former US airbase in Clark, Pampanga will again be activated for military use. The group observed that the former Subic Naval Base is now being used to service US warships including nuclear submarines.

“The same will happen to Clark Airbase. US planes will again be frequent visitors under the guise of helping the Philippines monitor the South China Sea. The US is really exploiting the situation for its own agenda. It wants to bring US bases back, even under a different scheme. We have to oppose this retrogression. We already rid ourselves of that shameful affront to our sovereignty, we cannot let the bases back again,” Reyes said. ###

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