On Balikatan Exercises and Oplan Bayanihan

Interview with Prof. JOSE MARIA SISON
Chairperson, International League pf Peoples’ Struggle

By John Toledo
Philippine Collegian
21 April 2012

Good evening Prof. Sison. I am John Toledo from Philippine Collegian, the writer who interviewed you before about role of the US in the Philippines in relation to the VFA (US-RP Visiting Forces Agreement) and the MDT (US-RP Mutual Defense Treaty). Here’s a link to that article http://www.philippinecollegian.org/strategic-offensive-confronting-the-threat-of-us-interests-in-the-philippines/

I am here writing again to you, asking for your answers on certain questions which bother me regarding the current Balikatan exercises (joint US-RP military exercises) here in the Philippines which started last April 16. I shall be writing again a new article based on this news peg which will be published on May 1 for the Labor Day celebrations. Here are the questions:

  1. Please comment on the continuation of Balikatan exercises and Oplan Bayanihan by US here in the Philippines.

    JMS: The Balikatan exercises are a demonstration and sharpening of US military intervention. They are supposed to put into practice the interoperability of the US and its Filipino puppet forces. They are a show of force aimed at intimidating the Filipino people and the peoples in the Asia-Pacific region.

    Oplan Bayanihan is a national campaign plan of military suppression designed under the US Counteriinsurgency Guide. It is a continuation of (former president Gloria) Arroyo’s murderous Oplan Bantay Laya and it aims to surpass it in perpetrating abductions, torture and extrajudicial killings and other human right violations. Cynically and shamelessly, the Aquino regime misrepresents military operations against the people as peace and development operations.

  2. What are the implications of these on our sovereignity?

    JMS: The Balikatan exercises flagrantly violate the national sovereignty of the Filipino and the territorial integrity of the Philippines. The US and Aquino regime collaborate in invoking the US-RP Miutual Defense Treaty and the Visiting Forces Agreements and in allowing US military forces to conduct military operations and commit crimes with impunity. US military personnel are practically beyond the criminal jurisdiction of Philippine courts.

    Oplan Bayanihan is supposed to be carried out by Filipino puppet troops to suppress the revolutionary movement of the Filipino people in order to preserve the ruling system under US domination. In violation of national sovereignty, US military forces stationed in the Philippines collaborate with the puppet troops in intelligence, psywar and combat operations, especially with the use of the latest US-provided weapons and gadgets.

  3. What are the implications economically?

    JMS: The US-directed military exercises and military operations against the revolutionary movement in the Philippines are aimed at preserving the unjust ruling system of big compradors and landlords servile to US imperialism. The preservation of the system means the continuance of the exploitation of the people by the local exploiting classes of big compradors and landlords and by US and other foreign monopolies.

    Thus, the Philippines remains economically backward, agrarian and semi-feudal. It is  prevented from undertaking  national industrialization and genuine land reform. The people continue to suffer a high rate of unemployment, low incomes, soaring prices and expensive yet deteriorating social services, especially now that the world capitalist system and the local ruling system are stricken by a severe and protracted crisis.

  4. Please comment on America’s move to expand its military power here in the Philippines, aside from the fact that China looms as an emerging imperialist country.

    JMS: US military intervention in the Philippines is being escalated for the purpose of further oppressing and exploiting the Filipino people, as well as for the purpose of serving as part of the deployment of US military forces to strengthen US hegemony over the Asia-Pacific region and encircle China and the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea.

    China is now being vilified as an imperialist power that is about to pounce on or aggress against the Philippines. The anti-China scare campaign is used to justify the deployment of more US military forces in the Philippines and in East Asia. In fact, the US is by far the biggest imperialist power that has long violated the national sovereignty of the Filipino people and subjected them to perpetuated aggression and extreme plunder.

    China has a large GDP second only to the US but it has a huge population and is still poor. The per capita GDP places China in the lower part of the list of countries. China has weapons that merely suffice to defend itself within its national borders and to deter foreign aggression. It has not engaged in any sustained war of aggression like the US has done so many times since it became an imperialist power towards the end of the 19th century.

  5. Please comment on the possible future instances of harassment, violations on women, children and indigenous people’s communities, and events of extra-judicial killings?

    JMS:  We can be certain that human rights violations will increase by leaps and bounds upon the deployment of a bigger number of US troops in the Philippines as well as upon the escalation of military operations under the supervision of US military officers and  with the collaboration of US troops. Among the most vulnerable people are the women, children and the indigenous peoples.

    We can be certain  that the rape of  women, prostitution, drug use and  spread of sexually transmitted diseases will become rampant. The condition of children will be greatly degraded. More of them will be abandoned and orphaned. Many will take to the streets and be forced to become slave labor, child prostitutes, drug runners or beggars.  Great numbers of peasants and indigenous people will be subjected to bombings, mass dislocation, illegal detention, torture and extrajudicial killings in the course of campaigns of military suppression.

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