By Gerry Albert Corpuz, Lala Mudra Flores-Aguilar and Diwata Marbella
MANILA, Philippines-Invoking the sovereign rights of the Filipino people and public interest in general, the left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Monday pressed President Benigno Simeon Aquino III to disclose the real agenda of the unannounced visit of US top military official General Martin Dempsey to the country.
“The President owes this nation of over 100 million Filipinos an explanation. First, why the visit of General Dempsey was kept secret to the Filipino public? The second question is what is Dempsey’s agenda in his unannounced visit to Philippines? We are sure it has something to do with the plan of US defense department to mobilize most of its warships in Asia Pacific region by 2012, which is why it kept secret, but this best kept secret is no longer a secret at all,” said Fernando Hicap, Pamalakaya chairperson.
Hicap, also the vice-chairperson of Anakpawis party list said Aquino is legally, politically and morally obliged to report the outcome of the results of his meeting with US general Dempsey to the Philippine Senate, the House of Representatives and to the Filipino public.
“Is there something big which the President wants to hide from the Filipino people? We notice that US top military officials come and leave the country without any official notice from Malacanang. It appears to us that Manila functions like a de facto military base of the US as Washington generals come here to perform covert meetings with Malacanang and AFP bigwigs in regular fashion,” the Anakpawis party list leader added.
Pamalakaya noted that the two-day visit of Dempsey coincided with the announcement of the US government that it will increase its military presence in Asia and the Pacific region by 2020. The militant group said the US will deploy most of its naval ships in the region, which includes the Philippines, by year 2020.
The militant group said like US officials, its nuclear carrying war ships have been visiting the country for port call, refueling and rapid forward deployment of troops in the country under the cloak of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and the Mutual Logistics and Support Agreement (MLSA).
Pamalakaya recalled that last month a US submarine ship was docked in Subic freeport without the knowledge of Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA). The group had wondered why DFA was not informed about the “visit” of attack submarine USS North Carolina (US-SNN 777), one of the most modern submarines in the US navy. The militant group said it is not a remote possibility that the US will pursue another RP-US Military Bases Agreement with the Aquino administration, following the need to host tens of thousands of US troops and hundreds of US military ships which will be dispatched to Asia Pacific region by 2012.