US to launch second iteration of Cope Thunder-24 in June

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This article is available in Pilipino

The Philippine Air Force (PAF) and the US Air Force will once again conduct the nonsensical Cope Thunder war games from June 17 to June 28. Philippine Air Force (PAF) Spokesperson Col. Ma. Consuelo Castillo announced the start of Cope Thunder’s second iteration this year on May 22.

An estimated 900 PAF personnel and 25 troops of the US Pacific Air Forces will participate in said war games. It will be launched mainly at Basa Air Base in Floridablanca, Pampanga and Villamor Air Base in Pasay City.

In a statement, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) labeled the Cope Thunder war games as “aerial terrorism.” According to Marco Valbuena, chief information officer of the Party, “the Filipino people must condemn these war games as these further promote the continuing campaign of aerial bombing across the country which has terrorized hundreds of thousands of people across the past years.”

The first iteration of Cope Thunder-24 was launched on April 8-19 in Philippine territory. These war games are in conjunction with the largest series of Balikatan Exercises 39-24 that was launched in the country on April 22-May 10 in which 11,000 American troops and 5,000 Filipino troops participated. Military officers of 14 other foreign countries also entered the country to participate and serve as observers.

Valbuena further said that these war games are being launched with an open violation of Philippine sovereignty. “The presence of US troops, jet fighters, naval vessels and other weapons further drag the country into the US imperialist conflict with China,” Valbuena said.

Apart from this, war games will bring anxiety to the hard-working masses. During its first series, the residents of Cagayan complained that the jet fighters flew too low. This caused chaos in schools, especially in daycare centers and kindergarten schools sending children scampering back to their homes. Infants were also upset, livelihoods were disrupted, and even domestic animals were frightened and distressed.

Residents complained that they were not informed in advance, causing people to run and stumble in extreme fear since the exhibitions were staged right over schools and barangay halls. A mother said her 7-year-old son prevented her from leaving the house fearing she would be hit by a bomb. They also complained about the extremely loud rumble and deafening noise of jet fighters. “My chest felt like it was going to explode when it passed over us,” said one.

According to the PAF, the second series of Cope Thunder is part of the Marcos regime’s preparations for Australia’s first participation in the “Pitch Black” war games, at the instigation of the US, in which PAF aircraft are scheduled to actually participate.

The “Pitch Black” war games are scheduled to be held from July 12 to August 2. The PAF will use six FA-50 fighter jets and 125 troopers will participate in the war games.

Billions of public funds will be spent on these meaningless exercises, Valbuena said. “Funds should instead be spent for public services, responding to those affected by the drought during El Niño, supporting those affected by typhoon Aghon, and preparing for the impending La Niña,” he said.

AB: US to launch second iteration of Cope Thunder-24 in June