Group condemns US and AFP shelling in Ilocos Norte and Zambales

, ,
This article is available in Pilipino

The Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan)-Ilocos condemned US and Philippine military troops for the live-fire exercises and artillery shelling in Burgos, Ilocos Norte and Zambales on June 15. The war games are part of the Marine Aviation Support Activity (MASA) 2024 which started on June 3 and ends on June 21 between the US Marine Corps (USMC) and its puppet Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

The imperialist US claims that the war games, and the entire MASA 2024, are for “mutual defense, strengthening of relations and training for emerging aviation concepts” between the two militaries. Bayan-Ilocos refuted this claim and said the war games only serve to strengthen the presence of the US in the Philippines and are part of its war provocations against China.

“Marcos’ servility to the US is a clear violation of the country’s sovereignty,” the group emphasized. Marcos also proves that the country will not have a truly independent foreign policy while he is president due to his puppetry to the US.

In the said war games, the Philippine Marines again fired 105MM and 155MM Howitzers aimed at the waters of Burgos directly facing the Taiwan Strait. The US also flew four USMC F-35B Lightning II multi-role stealth fighters to Zambales and conducted an air strike simulation target in the waters.

“This ongoing military drill must be condemned. The ongoing military exercises and bombings by the US and the AFP clearly serve to push and provoke China, hinder diplomatic and peaceful resolutions, increase tensions, and perpetuate the conflict,” Bayan-Ilocos said.

It said that war games are also a big disruption to the people’s livelihood. Fishing bans were reported in several towns in Ilocos Norte and in five towns in Zambales. “Apart from this, the ongoing military exercises also completely disregard the environment,” Bayan-Ilocos added.

At least 2,200 American troopers from the US Marine Corps, US Army, US Special Forces and US Air Force are in the Philippines for MASA 2024. Only 975 Filipino soldiers participated in the games. MASA 2024 activities are being conducted in Batanes, Ilocos Norte, Pampanga, Tarlac, Metro Manila, Cavite and Palawan.

Many of these provinces were also the staging grounds for war games by 11,000 US military troops from April to May in the historically largest Balikatan war game.

AB: Group condemns US and AFP shelling in Ilocos Norte and Zambales