By ILPS Philippines
MANILA – The Philippines chapter of the International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS-Phils) today called on the Filipino people and the international community to stop both the US and China from escalating war preparations in the Philippines.
The ILPS-Philippines scored China for using “civilian” overflights from Hainan to an airfield it built on Kagitingan (Fiery Cross) Reef as a pretext for increased presence in the West Philippine (South China) Sea.
It also denounced the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) between the US and Manila government, recently upheld in court, as putting civilians “at risk of war” on Philippine soil.
“We cannot expect just US drones like those used in the Mamasapano bloody incident last year where 44 police troops, 17 Moro rebels and five civilians were killed. Under EDCA, there would be US military boots on the ground in such civilian facilities as Clark, Subic, Palawan and Cagayan de Oro,” it said.
“Pres. Aquino is offering not only Philippine military bases but civilian ports and airfields as well to US military troops under the EDCA. This is not for our country’s security and stability in the South China Sea. This is dragging us into more conflicts, a convenient target of war not of our making.
“US military presence under the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) did not help Philippine fishermen when China forcibly took Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal off the coast of Zambales. Neither did it stop China from its aggressive reclamations in the Spratlys. The port visit of a US nuclear submarine in Subic, a US Navy patrol and several flights did not stop the Chinese claims, navigation and flights into Philippine territory.
“It is the government’s own undoing that we cannot defend ourselves despite a P3-trillion national budget, a decades-old modernization of the armed forces with Japanese patrol boats, South Korean jets, and Israeli war materiel. Only the US, its war contractors and corrupt officials stood to gain from this war footing.
The EDCA completes the US “arc of containment” against China on its eastern flank from South Korea, Japan and the Philippines as it stations in the Pacific side with Australia. The US, however, is weakened and now contended by Russia and China in several fronts from Europe to West Asia, to Africa and Latin America.
“It is up to the Filipino people to redeem the 1991 rejection of the US bases. It is the solidarity of the international community against wars of intervention and aggression that can fully assert the people’s interest for genuine freedom and peace.”