US takes advantage of calamity-stricken area to hold naval exercises violating Philippine sovereignty – BAYAN Eastern Visayas

The Bagong Alyansang Makabayan in Eastern Visayas today condemned the announcement of US Pacific Fleet Commander Adm. Harry Harris, Jr., that the US and its allies will be holding naval exercises off Tacloban City this June.

“It is an insult to the survivors of Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) for foreign troops led by the US to carry out naval exercises violating national sovereignty in the guise of humanitarian and disaster response,” said Jun Berino, Bayan-EV secretary general.

He adds, “Such intentions smack of foreign military intervention to the Filipino people, who while welcoming international aid would like to make clear that Philippine sovereignty must be respected. It can be gleaned from Adm. Harris’s pronouncements that the planned naval exercises have nothing to do with humanitarianism but everything to do with maintaining US hegemony in the Philippines and Asia.”

Bayan-EV also said that the virtually permanent basing of US troops is already being cooked through continuing negotiations for the Framework Agreement on Enhanced Defense Cooperation and Rotational Presence between the Philippines and the United States.

“The so-called Pacific Partnership 2014 (PP14) involving the US, Japan, Australia and New Zealand is a thinly disguised war exercise. Adm. Harris made clear that enhancing defense cooperation among the US and its allies is PP14’s goal. The US is also pressing for the fast-tracking of the approval of the military agreement with the Philippine government for the enhanced presence and access of US troops. What little construction under PP14 they will do in the calamity area is to dupe the people through psywar and poor consolation for the violation of national sovereignty.”

Bayan-EV’s Berino called on the people of Tacloban and Eastern Visayas to oppose PP14 and the increasingly oppressive US military presence in the country. “The US troops are unwelcome in the region for their violation of national sovereignty. They did not significantly contribute after Yolanda other than showing off their might and ensuring media gimmicks to falsely show them as saviors of the people.

The Aquino government should be condemned for selling out the country’s sovereignty to ensure its continuing backing by the Obama government despite various issues rocking the administration. But we in Eastern Visayas stand and say: No to the Pacific Partnership 2014 naval exercises! No to the Framework Agreement on Enhanced Defense Cooperation and Rotational Presence between the Philippines and the United States! US troops, out now!” [PRESS RELEASE, February 26, 2014]