February 19, 2021
Contact: Nikole Cababa, Secretary General, BAYAN USA firstname.lastname@example.org
On February 12th 2021, Duterte told the United States during negotiations for renewal of the Visiting Forces Agreement, that they can stay in the Philippines if they pay. For the Filipino people, no amount of money paid will ever be enough and we demand that the U.S. get out of the Philippines once and for all. We can never be truly an independent country as long as bureaucrat capitalists keep offering up our homeland to the highest bidder, and as long as imperialism remains on Philippine soil.
In his last term as president, Duterte has played puppet to his imperialist masters, the U.S. and now China. Openly pandering to both sides, he has no shame making business deals with Chinese corporations and investors, while also offering the U.S. freedom to advance their troops in the Philippines in exchange for payment or access to vaccines. As China encroaches on the West Philippine Sea, Duterte has failed to protect fisherfolk from bullying and harassment of Chinese boats. We cannot afford another year of the Duterte regime or risk that he will try to extend his presidency through charter change. He must resign now or be forcibly removed from office!
We have no illusions that under the Biden-Harris Administration things will be any different. In fact, during 2020, the U.S dared to make profits off the backs of toiling Filipino masses with a $18 USD million Arms Deal. In response to this deal, Defense Secretary Lorenzana confidently stated that foreign policy under Biden will remain the same. The newly appointed U.S. Defense Secretary Austin met with Lorenzana to reaffirm military alliance with the Philippines, and to use the Philippines as a strategic outpost to project its military power in the Asia-Pacific. In exchange, Austin has remained silent against the Duterte regime’s spree of extrajudicial killings, illegal arrests, and human rights violations despite the international outcry. No matter who is in charge of U.S. imperialism, we can expect business as usual, with the U.S. continuing to exploit its semi-colony for natural resources and cheap human labor and treat it as a dumping ground for surplus goods and toxic waste.
The VFA has allowed for unlimited U.S. access to the Philippines without any consequence for their actions. Over the years, the U.S. military has enacted countless crimes against the Filipino people, such in the case of the Subic Bay rape case (2005), the killing of transwoman Jennifer Laude (2014), and the ongoing pollution and ecological damage to the Tubbataha Reef. Under the VFA, the U.S. can hold military exercises and have “temporary” bases, while training Armed Forces of the Philippines how to kill and torture indiscriminately. It was during Biden’s Vice-Presidency that the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) was drafted, in order to bolster U.S. bases and military training in the Philippines and modernize their weaponry. These agreements build off of the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty, which seeked to “maintain and develop their individual and collective capacity to resist armed attack,” but has only been used by the U.S. to back the AFP in committing horrific human rights abuses against the Filipino people and continue military invention in the Philippines and the Asia-Pacfic.
BAYAN USA calls on every Filipino and ally to publicly condemn the U.S. Duterte regime and call for the end of the VFA, EDCA, and all unequal military agreements between the U.S. and the Philippines. For those of us living inside the belly of the beast, contact your elected officials to endorse the Philippines Human Rights Act (PHRA), investigate human rights violations, cut U.S. military aid, and kick Philippine National Police posts out of the U.S. On the anniversary of the EDSA People Power movement (February 22-25, 1986), let us remember that the masses can and will rise up to remove a fascist dictator from office! Only through a national democractic movement led by the working class can the Philippines ever truly become free.
US Out of the Philippines!
Junk the Visiting Forces Agreement!
Oust Duterte Now!