CPP condemns scheduled US-AFP aerial war games

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) today condemned the second series of the Cope Thunder-24, war games between the Philippine Air Force (PAF) and the US Air Force, slated for June 17-28. The schedule of the war games, set to be held at Basa Air Base in Floridablanca, Pampanga and Villamor Air Base in Pasay City, was announced by PAF Col. Ma. Consuelo Castillo last May 22.

“These war games must be condemned as aerial terrorism 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,” said CPP Chief Information Officer Marco L. Valbuena. “The war games only fuel the Filipino people’s growing animosity for the US forces and the AFP for normalizing aerial terrorism.”

The CPP official further said these joint exercises are being carried out with outright contempt for the country’s sovereignty. “The presence of US troops, jet fighters, naval vessels and other weapons further drag the country into the US imperialist conflict with China.”

“The upcoming war exercises Cope Thunder, the second for this year and coming at the heels of the recent large-scale Balikatan war games, puts a clear target on the country, in case an open armed conflict between the US and China breaks out,” added Valbuena.

“Amid worsening and growing poverty, it is grossly obscene considering that Marcos will squander billions of pesos from public funds for the said 10-day event,” Valbuena pointed out. He insisted that public funds should instead be spent to aide the Filipino peasantry and the rural population severely affected by the dry season amid the El Niño phenomenon and for comprehensive preparation in the face of impending La Niña.

PAF’s Col. Castillo earlier announced that an estimated 900 PAF personnel and 25 US Pacific Air Forces personnel will participate in the upcoming Cope Thunder war games.

The first iteration of the said wargames last April 8-19 saw the participation of 250 US airmen and 12 US aircraft. Residents of Gattaran, Sto Niño, and Lasam in Cagayan said low-flying jet fighters caused mayhem in schools especially in daycare centers and kindergarten schools sending children scampering back to their homes. Infants were also awakened, 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 near 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.

The Cope Thunder war games was revived in 2023 with the push of the Marcos regime since its termination in 1990.

“The nonsensical war games has been dead for more than 30 years already, why can’t it stay that way? The Filipino people despise the Cope Thunder and US presence in the Philippines,” Valbuena ended.

CPP condemns scheduled US-AFP aerial war games