US out of the Philippines! Marcos out of Washington DC!
Filipinos and supporters across the United States oppose the May 1 bilateral meeting between presidents Joe Biden and Ferdinand Marcos Jr., as well as Marcos’ subsequent engagements while in the U.S. Marcos, who will be in Washington DC from April 30 to May 1, is set to meet with Biden and other U.S. officials to supposedly “bring about lasting socio-economic partnerships,” “enhance defense and security cooperation,” “ensure respect for human rights,” and “uphold international law.” These buzzwords cover up the real intent behind the meetings: to sell out Philippine sovereignty in exchange for US aid, investments, and political legitimacy despite the brutal history of the Marcos family.
In 2023 alone, the US has secured four new military facilities under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (bringing the total to nine), allocated $100 million in aid to expedite the completion of these EDCA sites, and engaged in three back-to-back joint US-PH military exercises: Salaknib, Balikatan, and Exercise Cope Thunder. The Balikatan war games were the largest ever, with over 17,000 troops participating, 12,000 of whom were American. We expect Biden and Marcos to discuss the US-Philippines Bilateral Defense Guidelines, which could expand the scope and scale of joint military training in the future. US military intervention will not help defend the Filipino people. Instead, it detracts from the diplomatic methods the Philippine government must use to resolve territorial disputes in the region, and leaves the people at risk of being caught in a 21st century cold war between two rival superpowers: the US and China.
The US has also been hard at work pushing the Philippines to adopt its Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF). The IPEF is the US’ latest effort to ensure economic control over the Indo-Pacific, especially as China launches its own free trade agreement in the region. The Philippines’ adoption of IPEF — coupled with Marcos’ push to remove restrictions in the Philippine constitution on foreign ownership of land and industries — would further open up the economy to foreign control, which has been devastating for both the agricultural and industrial sectors of the economy. Such policies are also the root of the Philippines’ labor export policy, under which thousands of Filipinos are forced to migrate abroad in search of livelihood opportunities. These policies will be the focus of discussion at a series of meetings of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum held in the US, which Marcos is also set to attend in November.
We have not forgotten the blood spilled by the Marcos dynasty, nor the billions of pesos in stolen wealth that the Filipino people continue to pay for. In its first six months, the current Marcos administration was responsible for 17 extrajudicial killings, 165 illegal arrests, 200 cases of red-tagging, and the continued detention of 825 political prisoners. Just this past month, union organizer and paralegal Alex Dolorosa was brutally murdered. These attacks — which target people who speak out against economic inequality and militarization of their communities — are enabled largely by US security aid and military training to the Philippines. And while the Philippine government claims these efforts are to counter terrorism and insurgency, many are in fact war crimes in violation of international humanitarian law, such as aerial bombings of civilian communities and the torture and murder of unarmed combatants.
Marcos’ meetings with Biden and other state officials will only put the Filipino people in more danger of poverty and war. They prioritize the interests of the US and the Philippines’ political elite over those of the everyday Filipino. We advocate for a US foreign policy that respects Philippine sovereignty and the human rights of its people. We demand the passing of the Philippine Human Rights Act in US Congress to cut security aid to the Philippines until human rights violations end. And most importantly, we call on all Filipinos and supporters to join the people’s movement to fight for the sovereign and democratic rights of the Filipino people.
#PHnot4Sale #MarcosOutOfDC #MarcosNotWelcome
Joint statement by BAYAN USA, Malaya Movement USA, and the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines – US