On the upcoming Balikatan 2018 exercises

The Balikatan 2018 military exercises set to be conducted by the
US military jointly with the AFP starting May 7 will once again
highlight the total absence of national sovereignty in the
Philippines. It exposes once more how the country is used by
the US military as a springboard for power projection and
aggression in the Asia-Pacific, specifically, as a base for its
military encirclement of China.

The Balikatan exercises are being conducted under the US
government’s Operation Pacific Eagle which heightens US
interventionism in local counter-guerrilla and armed
suppression operations.

The Filipino people must energetically protest the Balikatan
2018 exercises because it drags the country into the
increasingly intense economic and diplomatic conflict between
the US and China that threatens to escalate into open military
conflict. With the Balikatan exercises and permanent US
military presence in the country, the Philippines cannot assert
non-aligned status and becomes a target of enemies of the US

The Filipino people must reiterate their demand for the
abrogation of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), the Enhanced
Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) and the Mutual Defense
Treaty (MDT). All these military agreements are one-sided in
favor of the US military. These grant the US extra-territorial
rights in the country, allowing US military forces to fly,
sail, land and move around the country anytime they wish.

The recent publicity surrounding the opening of a so-called
“humanitarian assistance and disaster relief warehouse”
constructed by the US military in the Cesar Basa Air Base in
Pampanga under the EDCA is a vain attempt to obscure the fact
that the US military uses the EDCA to preposition its military
equipment and weapons in its facilities inside AFP camps where
the public nor Philippine officials have no right to enter or
inspect. Under the EDCA, the US military can store nuclear
weapons or related materiél inside their facilities, without
the Filipinos knowing.

The upcoming Balikatan exercises furthermore expose Duterte’s
anti-American rhetoric as complete fakery. In reality, under
Duterte, the US military has succeeded in strengthening its
foothold in the Philippines.

On the upcoming Balikatan 2018 exercises