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First US-led overseas war remembered; Fil-Ams condemn MLSA extension for 5 more years

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CONTACT: Chito Quijano, Chair

This week BAYAN – USA (Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, USA Chapter) commemorates the Philippine American War, one of the first US-imperialist wars for expansion beyond North America. The Philippine American War began on February 4, 1899, justified by poet Rudyard Kipling and US Congressmen as ‘The White Man’s Burden.’ And more than a century later, the US is still asserting its military, economic and political ‘burden’ upon the Filipino people.

BAYAN USA condemns the latest maneuvers of the Bush and Arroyo cliques to secretively and swiftly extend the RP-US Mutual Logistics and Support Agreement (MLSA) that was supposed to expire in November 2007.  The recent 5-year extension of the MLSA gives the U.S. an ‘all-access’ pass to all Philippine facilities. Chito Quijano, Chairperson of BAYAN USA, asserts, “This treaty is yet another attack on Philippine sovereignty, on the Filipino people.”

“The US has used every tactic in the book against the Filipino people. The war on the Iraqi people today, primarily for their oil, had been templated 109 years ago when the US invaded the Philippines.” Quijano reminds, “US battle-cries such as General Jacob Smith’s command, “Kill everyone over 10!” resulted in the death of more than 1.6 million Filipinos, one-sixth of the Filipino people in less than 8 years.”  The Philippine American War was referred to as the “First Vietnam” during the 1960’s.

After  109 years of worsening poverty and on-going foreign domination, the Philippines continues to be severely impacted by the global US-led war of terror.  Since its distinction as the 2nd Front of the War on Terror in 2002, it has received the most US military aid in Asia. Quijano states, “US taxpayers must oppose the horrendous killing spree and forced disappearances of innocent people and political activists under the Arroyo regime.” In 2007, support for the  ‘Stop the Killings in the Philippines’ campaign gained momentum across the US, and the GMA WATCH was convened to take a pro-active step in supporting the fight against human rights violations in the Philippines.   A recent contract between the Philippines and a US-based lobbying firm reflects an anxious Arroyo regime that must now invest in a cover-up campaign so that its military aid is not impacted or restricted.

With the support of the US, blatant and covert, the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo clique is desperately trying to maintain its chokehold on the Filipino people. Some of Arroyo’s unpatriotic acts over the last year include Oplan Bantay Laya II, the Human Security Act or Anti-Terror Law and the NBN-ZTE Deal. Her callous record as the Commander in Chief, comparable to the despicable human rights record of Dictator Ferdinand Marcos, has drawn the attention of the international community.  Bodies such as the United Nations, Amnesty International, and even US Congresspersons have questioned her administration and the role of her military in more than 1000 cases of extra-judicial killings and disappearances. The 2nd International Permanent People’s Tribunal delivered the US and Arroyo government a guilty verdict last March 2007. Even Arroyo’s own Supreme Court Justice referred to her fast-tracked Human Security Act as part of this ‘mindless war on terror’.

Quijano concludes, “As long as the US-led war of terror continues, the US will also desperately hold onto the Philippines as it has for the last 109 years. Although the recent renewal of the MLSA calls for 5 more years of unrestricted US access, history has shown that increased oppression breeds resistance. And just like the mass movement for national democracy has been able to oust US-backed puppet presidents before, it has also been able to force the shutdown of US bases before the country was opened up again with the Visiting Forces Agreement.”

NO US Tax-dollars for Philippine Death Squads!
Stop the Killings!