By Gerry Albert Corpuz, Portnip Pakangcharap and Elsewhere Lamierda
MANILA, Philippines—The sight of US and Japanese ships freely roaming around the Philippine waters is likened by a militant group to World War II scenario but this time with a twist.
"It seems we are back in World War II days where combat ships of US and Japan come to the Philippines as frequent as they want for a colonialization and occupation mission, but this time with a twist. They are now collaborating and abetting each other for grand re-colonialization of the Filipino nation with Tokyo acting as US junior partner," said Salvador France, vice chairperson of the left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) in a press statement.
France said the frequent visit of US and Japanese military ships in the country should be a major cause of alarm for every freedom loving Filipino, asserting the presence of foreign ships in the country is bizarre and blatant display of aggression and gross violation of national sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Filipino people.
"It seems everything is okay with President Benigno Simeon Aquino III. The Philippine government is treating national sovereignty like a dime-a-dozen commodity before the international market. The government is maintaining a de facto foreign policy that US and its junior partners in Asia and the Pacific like Japan, Australia and South Korea can go anytime in the country whenever they want for port call visit, refuelling and even beyond the rapid forward of foreign troops all over the country under the guise of joint military exercies," the Pamalakaya leader said.
France said the Philippine Senate which ratified the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) in 1999 and the Mutual Logistics Support Agreement (MLSA) in 2002 should come to its senses and call for full-blown investigation involving the frequent visit of foreign combat ships in the country.
"The Senate is hereby tasked to conduct a full-blown and full-blast investigation on the frequent visit of US combat military ships in the country. In invoking the collective sovereign rights of the people, we demand the senators to take a closer look into this very frequent and highly questionable visit of foreign warships in Philippine waters, whether their visits have something to do with military or humanitarian purposes. We want the truth and nothing but the truth," said Pamalakaya.
News report confirmed that the United States’ biggest naval hospital ship and a Japanese naval ship will arrive over the weekend for a multinational humanitarian assistance mission in Samar province. The report said the USNS Mercy, the US Navy’s premier hospital ship, is expected in Calbayog City on Sunday, the eve of the start of the Philippine leg of the Pacific Partnership 2012.
The Japanese naval landing ship Oosumi will arrive a day after in Calbagyog City to support the USNS Mercy in sealift and airlift operations. The visit of two naval ships is part of the annual Pacific Partnership - the largest annual joint humanitarian and civic action mission in the Asia-Pacific region that brings together US military personnel, host and partner nations, non-government organizations and international agencies
. The mission also stops in Indonesia (North Sulawesi), Cambodia (Sihanoukville) and Vietnam (Vinh).
Last week, Pamalakaya and Anakpawis party list wrote Australian ambassador to the Philippines Bill Tweddell regarding the proposed Philippine-Australia Status of Visiting Forces Agreement (Sovfa).
"Honorable Ambassador, the PH-Australia military pact appears to us like a supplemental agreement of the current VFA between the Philippines and Washington D.C. The PH-Australia SOVFA implicitly endorses the US agenda to increase its military forces in the Philippines and in Asia-Pacific Region. It is global public knowledge that Australia is a staunch ally of the US and every use of our naval ports, land and air spaces under the RP-US VFA and the soon to be ratified PH-Australia VFA will serve the military interest of Washington D.C all over the Philippines and across Asia and the Pacific," according to the letter signed by Pamalakaya and Anakpawis party list leaders.
"The PH-Australia VFA is an indirect support to the proposal of the US government to revive the proposed RP-US military bases agreement which was rejected by the Philippine Senate on September 16, 1991 to accommodate more warships and US troops to be deployed by Washington D.C in Asia Pacific in year 2020," they said.
Pamalakaya and Anakpawis party list maintained that the US can ask Philippine President Benigno Simeon Aquino III anytime about the revival of the RP-US Military Bases Agreement and have a new treaty passed before his term ends in 2016. And at the rate things are going, Australia, being a close military ally of the US, will support the same bases agenda as military ally of the Philippines under the its own VFA with the Philippines.
Just recently, US Defense Secretaryannounced that the United States will move the majority of its warships to the Asia-Pacific in coming years and keep six aircraft carriers in the region. He said the US would reposition its Navy fleet so that 60 percent of its warships would be assigned to the region by 2020, compared to about 50 percent now. The Navy would maintain six aircraft carriers assigned to the Pacific. Six of its 11 carriers are now assigned to the Pacific but that number will fall to five when the USS Enterprise retires this year.
Although US defense chief Panetta dispelled notions that the shift in US focus to Asia was designed to contain China’s emergence as a global power, the global people are convinced that the current move of Washington D.C is to strengthen its military control of Asia and the Pacific on or before 2012. @