Balikatan 2024, a danger and scourge to Filipino women

This article is available in Pilipino

In a statement on March 31, Gabriela called on all patriotic women to unite and defend the Motherland from US military intervention that will surely drag the country into imperialist war and conflict.

This call relates to the scheduled Balikatan 2024 wargame that the US is set to launch from April to May in Batanes and Palawan.

“History has shown us that the escalation of thousands of American troops and their allies in the communities surrounding the military base or “EDCA site” poses a grave threat to the safety, welfare and rights of Filipinos, especially children and women,” said Clarice Palce, general secretary of the organization.

The group says the proliferation of military activities and the presence of foreign troops allows “militarized prostitution,” a form of prostitution that exclusively services military forces, as part of the “rest and recreation” of foreign troops. Places and entertainment areas where prostitution of women and youth are major activities exist and proliferate wherever the US has a large base and military presence in the world.

In the Philippines, large US military bases in Clark in Pampanga and Subic in Olongapo, Zambales have become the center of this type of prostitution. In 2012, American soldiers were reportedly “hiring” “ship-boarding” women (prostituted women delivered to docked ships) while large warships were docked in General Santos City.

Gabriela also expressed opposition to the planned test of an Israeli-made “air defense system” during the wargame. It condemned the Marcos regime for its silence on the US-Israeli genocide in Gaza. “(I)t is now welcoming the same type of bombs that have killed thousands of Palestinian women and children into our land.”

The group also called for the immediate expulsion of all American troops from the Philippines and the scrapping of pro-US agreements such as the Visiting Forces Agreement and EDCA.

AB: Balikatan 2024, a danger and scourge to Filipino women