By John Lloyd Hoffman in New York City and Gerry Albert Corpuz in Manila
New York, USA-(2ND UPDATE) Filipino activists in New York will take the streets on Saturday to protest the plan of US governemnt to deploy more troops in the Philippines.
In a statement sent to all voices.com, patriotic groups such as Bayan-USA, Anakbayan-USA, Migrante International, the International Migrants Alliance, the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (Nafcon) and the global anti-imperialist bloc International League of People's Struggle (ILPS) will picket the Manila government's consulate in New York to remind the Philippine government that Filipinos overseas refused Washington's move to bring in more military troops and purse basing rights in the country.
They said instead of pursuing the usual puppet role for US, Philippine President Benigno Simeon Aquino III should assert the country's sovereignty and pave way for the abrogation of one-sided treaties such as the Mutual Defense Treaty of 1951 and the 1999 Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA)
Later, The Bayan forces based in New York will join other global activists in Times Square to condemn Washington's persistent move to bully and harass the people of Iran and justify another unjust war in Tehran in the tradition of American war of agression in Baghadad and Tripoli.
In Manila, Bayan and other allied organizations will conduct a major forum in the University of the Philippines (UP) in Diliman, Quezon City to update anti-war and imperialist forces on the renewed proposal of the US government to deploy more troops and re-start the re-establishment of American military bases in the country, almost 21 years after the Sept.16, 1991 rejection of the RP-US Bases Treaty.
Earlier, one of the groups highly critical of US military presence in the country today warned the Filipino people that President Benigno Simeon Aquino III is currently talking with the American government on the supposed return of US military bases in the country since the rejection of the PH-US military bases agreement on September 16, 1991.
The fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) said based on an article published by Washington Post yesterday entitled “Philippines may allow US greater military presence in reaction to China’s rise” the Philippine government is in talks with the government of US President Barack Obama about expanding the American military presence in the country as a strategic move aimed at China.
“If we read between the lines, Washington wants a grand comeback of US military bases in the country to check, upset and provoke China at the expense of our country’s sovereignty and the people’s sovereign rights,” said Pamalakaya national chairperson Fernando Hicap in a press statement.
Hicap added: ‘It is like telling the client and puppet state of the Philippines to expand the scope of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) to something that would allow permanent basing of US forces and the setting up of new military bases in the country in the tradition of the 1947 RP-US Military Bases Agreement which was rejected by the Filipino people and culminated in the historic Senate vote 20 years ago.”
The Pamalakaya leader said the Philippine Senate should conduct a full-blown inquiry on reports that President Aquino is holding discrete talks with the Obama administration that would allow the American government to expand its military presence in the country to check China and challenge the latter’s claim to the controversial Spratly group of islands.
“We ask the senators of the Philippine Republic to undertake a major political and legal inquiry over these reports of Washington Post that the Manila government is working hand-in-hand with the US government to increase its presence in the country including the ultimate return of American bases in different parts of the archipelago,” added Hicap.
The article written by Washington Post correspondent Craig Whitlock said “ two decades after evicting U.S. forces from their biggest base in the Pacific, the Philippines is in talks with the Obama administration about expanding the American military presence in the island nation, the latest in a series of strategic moves aimed at China.”