Survivors of super typhoon Yolanda burned a mock flag of the United States near its embassy in Manila, condemning the use of disaster aid as justification for the continued presence of the US military in the country, particularly the impending war games in Ormoc City next year. “We have seen again and again, that the United States has touted their supposed benevolence during disasters to stealthily parallel their military interests in the Pacific,” said Rey Miranda, Secretary General of patriotic group Bayan Eastern Visayas.
The Balikatan exercises is set to be staged in Ormoc City on April 2017. Bayan EV claims that the medical mission and humanitarian assistance to be conducted together with the war games is a tool to masquerade the aggressive geo-military motives of the United States.
Miranda also called on President Duterte to stay true to his anti-imperialist pronouncements and earlier declaration of ending the joint war exercises between the country and the United States. “I thought you said, it was the last?” asked Miranda. “The people of Eastern Visayas know all too well that the United States is not a friend but a viciously two-faced enemy. The US troops who massacred 50,000 civilians in Balangiga and the entire Samar in their pacification campaign in 1901 are no different from the US troops who are here today in the name of US imperialist hegemony,” declared Miranda.
Bayan Eastern Visayas calls on Duterte to finally depart from a foreign policy subservient to the US particularly with the past Aquino regime’s signing of the lopsided Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement with the US using its response to Yolanda as sugarcoat. In Eastern Visayas after the November 2013 Yolanda supertyphoon, the matter of humanitarian assistance/disaster response through the Pacific Partnership 2014 (PP14) was included to justify the prolonged stay of US troops and the use of civilian airports and seaports to accommodate US military craft. “The United States disaster response enables military expansion and dominance in a rather soft and naturalized approach through a throng of rhetoric, entitled beliefs and sinister practices,” added Miranda.
“We hope that President Duterte’s commendable words against US imperialism will not end up as rhetoric, but ultimately transform to pro-people, pro-sovereignty policies. Turning to the side of the Filipino people is very much welcome, but flip-flops favoring the foreign imperialists will unleash an intensified fury of the people against another puppet Philippine president,” concluded Miranda.
Secretary General, Bayan Eastern Visayas