No negotiations for new VFA! Abrogate all lopsided US-Philippine military agreements!
Today marks the 21st anniversary of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), which is set to expire on August 9, 74 days from now, after a notice of termination was filed by the Philippine government last February 11.
The Party reiterates the Filipino people’s patriotic demand that there be no negotiation for another VFA and demand for the complete abrogation of all other military treaties between the US and the Philippines which reinforce US imperialist hegemony in the Philippines and in the Asia-Pacific region.
Over the past 21 years, the VFA has served as one of the starkest reminders of the country’s status as a US neocolony, under which the US has been given unlimited access to bring in their troops and use the country’s airspace and sealanes. Under the VFA, the US military has maintained permanent rotational presence in the country, with at least several hundred troops in the country at any given time.
Since 1999, the US military used the VFA to establish military facilities across the country, including those inside Camp Navarro in Zamboanga City, where several hundred US troops conducted trainings and launched counterguerrilla operations against the revolutionary forces of the Moro and Filipino peoples. Reinforced with the 2014 Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) which gives the US military the right to establish military facilities inside AFP camps across the country.
Under the VFA, American troops who committed murder, rape and other crimes in the country were able to escape just punishment. The criminals behind the following remain free:
1. The March 2000 mauling of taxi driver Marcelo Batestil in Cebu by three US soldiers.
2. The May 16, 2002 terrorist bombing at the Evergreen Hotel by CIA operative Michael Meiring who was taken by US embassy officers from Philippine police and whisked back to the US.
3. The July 25, 2002 Basilan shooting of Buyong-buyong Isnijal by US soldier Reggie Lane.
4. The May 25, 2004 massacre of the Malla brothers in Barangay Sipangkot, Umapoy Island, Tawi-Tawi involving at least four US soldiers.
5. The June 21, 2004 killing of Arsid Baharon who was shot by an American soldier in an area turned into a firing range in Barangay San Roque, Zamboanga City.
6. The November 1, 2005 Subic rape case of “Nicole” by US Lance Corporal Daniel Smith who was convicted, detained inside the US embassy and later repatriated to the US after forcing the victim to recant her testimony.
7. The November 30, 2007 barging into the Panamao District Hospital by US soldiers who threatened and ordered hospital personnel to shut down that day.
8. The February 4, 2008 massacre of eight civilians in Barangay Ipil, Maimbung, Sulu involving US soldiers and troops of the AFP.
9. The April 19, 2009 rape of college student “Vanessa” inside a Makati City hotel.
10. The February 2, 2010 murder of Gregan Cardeño, a Filipino interpreter working for US troops, who was found dead inside Camp Ranao.
11. The October 11, 2014 rape and murder of Jennifer Laude in Olongapo City by US Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton who is now detained inside a US facility inside Camp Aguinaldo.
It is a matter of patriotic duty that the Filipino people demand justice for all the crimes perpetrated by the US under the VFA. They must demand justice as well for the innumerable crimes committed by American troops since its 1898 war of aggression, occupation, suppression and colonization of the country.
The Filipino people must militantly oppose any move to take back the notice of termination, renegotiate the treaty, or negotiate a new agreement that will allow US military forces to maintain permanent presence in the country.
The Filipino people must denounce the US State Department for its certification to allow the Duterte government to purchase as much as $1.5 billion worth of US helicopters and military hardware that will be used in the US-directed counterinsurgency war which has resulted in widespread violations of human rights.
The Filipino people must demand an end to US neocolonial rule in the country and seek an end to all other lopsided military treaties which give US soldiers extraterritorial rights in the country, including the EDCA and the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty.
The Filipino people must demand the pullout of all US troops in the Philippines and the dismantling of American military facilities inside Camp Aguinaldo, Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija, Basa Air Base in Pampanga, Antonio Bautista Air Base in Palawan, Benito Ebuen Air Base in Mactan, Camp Navarro in Zamboanga City, Camp Ranao in Marawi City and inside the PNP Academy in Cavite.
The Filipino people must call for an end to the Operation Pacific Eagle-Philippines under which the US military has used to heighten military interventionism in the country in the guise of “anti-terrorism” since 2017. They must demand an end to interventionist US military operations in the country, including drone and electronic surveillance by Dyne Corporation and other US military contractors.
The demand for an end to US neocolonial rule and military domination is in line with the Filipino people’s aspiration for genuine national sovereignty. US military domination in the country is a magnet for military aggression by the imperialist rivals of the US, including China. In line with this aspiration, the Filipino people also denounces China for its deployment of military forces in the South China Sea and the construction and operation of military facilities, especially in the areas within the territorial boundaries of the Philippines.
Achieving national liberation in the political, economic and military fields aim to end the imperialist oppression and plunder of the country which has condemned the country to a perpetual state of backwardness and crisis. The demand for social justice and genuine national liberation are the key elements in the Filipino people’s national democratic revolution.