Interview with Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Chairperson, International League of Peoples’ Struggle
BY JOHN TOLEDO
Please comment on the reopening and continuous strengthening of the MDT (Mutual Defense Treaty) as seen in Hillary Clinton’s visit here in the Philippines.
Answer: The Mutual Defense Treaty is the oft-cited foundation for the Visiting Forces Agreement, which has been used to allow the stationing of US military forces and the endless relay of such forces in larger numbers in the country, despite the well-celebrated end of the US-Military Bases Agreement. The MDT is a one-sided document which imposes obligations on the Philippines in violation of national sovereignty and territorial integrity and allows the US to go through its constitutional process and balance its conflicting interests before coming to the defense of the Philippines in case of an attack on the latter.
At any rate, Hillary Clinton came to the Philippines to declare that the US is increasing its attention on its economic, political and security interests in the Philippines and East-Asia and is seeking to strengthen US hegemony in the Asia-Pacific region. The US is pushing the co-called Trans-Pacific Partnership in order to pressure China to privatize its state-owned enterprises and to submit further to US wishes in the world capitalist system. It is also trying to increase its military presence in East Asia by way of confronting the rising power of China in the region.
How would this affect the Philippines as a whole, especially in terms of protecting the sovereignty of our country and in the issues regarding the Spratlys and disputes in Mindanao (continuous Balikatan/VFA and the MILF fight for sovereign Bangsamoro land)?
Answer: The US has always regarded the Philippines as a strategic base in various respects and considers our islands as practically an unsinkable US naval fleet. The Philippines has gained even more importance as a strategic base to the US because it wants to counter the rise of China in the region and because it simply has to pay close attention to a region where a great part of the world’s economic activity and trade occur. The US wants to increase its economic, political and military domination of the region and is decided on using the Philippines for the purpose.
We can expect more US military intervention in the Philippines. It has used for sometime the CIA-created Abu Sayyaf as the pretext for introducing military forces via Balikatan/VFA not only in Mindanao but in the entire country, for meddling in the negotiations between the Manila government and the MILF and for seeking to grab oil and other major natural resources from Moroland. It is also using the issue of the Spratlys in order to beef up its military forces in the Philippines. But the Philippines cannot be too sure about US support because the US has far greater economic and security interests in its relations with China.
Please comment on Barack Obama’s speech that Southeast Asia shall be the center of focus by the imperialist America.
Answer: Indeed, Barack Obama’s speech underscores the focal interest of the US in Southeast Asia. In that regard, the Philippines plays the key role in serving US hegemony in Southeast Asia and further on Southeast Asia plays the key role for the maintenance of US hegemony in East Asia. In the previous answers, I have already laid out the interests and the new considerations and new thrusts of the US in the region.
Please comment on the continuous stranglehold of America, as imperialist, in our country. They have actually said in the wikileaks to maintain our country’s mode of production as “feudal” especially in setting up their markets and killing our local industries.
Answer: It is a sad fact that the US controls the Philippines economically, politically, culturally and militarily. The Philippines remains a semicolonial and semifeudal country because of the continuing infringement of our national sovereignty and prevention of economic development by the US. Indeed, the US wants to maintain a “feudal” or more precisely a semifeudal mode of production in the Philippines in order to make it a political underling and an easy source of superprofits for the US monopoly banks and firms.
For us as students, why should we fight for the junking of VFA? What alternatives should we do because as the government is really underneath the foreign power (as seen in PNoy’s support of Hillary Clinton).
Answer: You must fight for the junking of the VFA and the MDT because these instruments violate national sovereignty, allow the US military forces to intervene in the Philippines and protect US interests against the interests of the Filipino people. You must condemn and change a government that acts as a puppet and servant of US imperialism. You must engage in all possible and necessary forms of struggle in order to achieve national liberation and democracy and establish a people’s democratic government which can act best to resist the impositions of imperialism.