Are US drones dropping bombs in the Philippines?

The US imperialists and its military forces are notorious for outright military intervention and violating the territorial sovereignty of countries around the world. Indeed, it is well known that the US military has been freely operating their drones and other aircraft within Philippine airspace to transport war matériel and personnel in their various military bases and facilities, as well as take part in local military operations, including conducting drone surveillance, in the name of “counter-terrorism.”

In the same way that US soldiers played an active role in the bombing of Marawi City in 2017, American military officers are also often sighted in tactical outposts of the AFP in various parts of the country, acting as advisers and directing counterguerrilla operations of Filipino soldiers against Filipino revolutionary fighters.

It is thus not surprising, but nonetheless a condemnable act of outright intervention, that the US military is flying drones and carrying out air strikes in the Philippines against the New People’s Army. A few weeks ago, a unit of the NPA in Surigao del Sur, reported that a “Hermes”-type drone fired rocket bombs at their position as they engaged members of the 30th IB in a gun battle in the Katarugan mountains, in Barangay Lobo, Cantilan, Surigao del Sur, last May 11, 2023 at around 5:15 p.m. Two Red fighters were killed in the attack. Images of the area taken after the drone strikes show surrounding burned trees and vegetation.

NPA Red fighters are familiar with how the AFP uses its noisy FA-50s, Super Tucano jets or McDonnel Douglas and Agusta Westland helicopters for firing rocket bombs and strafing.

With the AFP not having publicly acknowledged that its drones are being armed with rocket bombs, there is high probability that the May 11 armed drone strike in Surigao del Sur was carried out by the US military itself, either by arming the AFP’s Hermes drones purchased from Israel with its Hellfire missiles, or using its own Reaper drones which from the ground could be mistaken for a Hermes drone.

The US military is known for having carried out tens of thousands of drone strikes operations overseas, especially in Pakistan and Afghanistan, where up to at least a few hundreds of civilians have been killed. On US instigation, drones are now also being increasingly used by the Indian government in its attacks against the people and revolutionary forces.

It is up to the AFP to explain whether it allowed the US to operate armed drones and fire rockets or drop bombs within the Philippines, in violation of Philippine sovereignty. Or whether, the AFP is now itself using armed drones to carry out aerial bombing in its counterinsurgency operations, which puts the lives of civilians in danger, and cause excessive loss of lives, in violation of international humanitarian law.

Are US drones dropping bombs in the Philippines?