The Communists are denouncing the Balikatan Exercises with the United States. They claim that the words “humanitarian mission” and “disaster response”—which are the main focus of the exercises, really true, correct and will be done in its true meaning and sense—are merely labels to hide the real Balikatan goal of boosting the b
US military presence.
The Communist Party of the Philippines claims Balikatan is only being used as a cover to the recent “enhanced military cooperation” and other such agreements which the Communists say are unlawful. There will be 2,500 troops from the United States which will join the 30th Balikatan exercises starting on May 5, 2014. The places for Balikatan exercises are Pampanga, Tarlac, Nueva Ecija, Albay, Palawan, Leyte and some others.
The CPP criticism is uncalled for. The exercises have proven beneficial to Filipinos especially during the last supertyphoon “Yolanda” where the Americans and the trained Filipino soldiers who answered the call were better trained, equipped and prepared for effective disaster response. It was made easier for rescue and relief operations by the government because the soldiers, volunteers and government agencies were quick to react and knew what to do and what priorities should be met.
The CPP should stop maligning the US. It is no secret that even in their so-called NPA controlled territories, even they themselves have benefited from the Balikatan through its medical, dental and veterinary activities initiated by US soldiers for the communities. It is not right to stop the Balikatan and misinterpret its good intentions for our people. If the CPP can’t say anything good, they should just keep quiet.
Benny M. Toledo