US has more forces in Mindanao than in Iraq

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THE Manilakbayan (Mindanao People’s Journey) on Saturday said the US government is keeping more “boots on the ground” in Mindanao, where there is only a pocket terrorist threat.

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The Manilakbayan said US President Barrack Obama ordered an additional 1,500 troops to augment the remaining 1,400 American troops in Iraq supposedly to fight the Islamic State (ISIS).

“As much as 6,000 US troops, or double the Iraq deployment, are stationed in Camp Navarro in Zamboanga City,” Fr. Christopher Ablon, the group’s spokesperson, said.

The group travelled from Mindanao and arrived in Manila this week to expose grave human rights violations especially on indigenous peoples collectively known as Lumads. Even children’s schools are being attacked by military and paramilitary forces.

The US maintains rotational troops in the Philippines under a Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) in its strategic pivot to Asia. Regular local troops are being trained by US advisers.

Aside from the military deployment, the US has pumped hundreds of millions in aid for peace and development in Mindanao. Traditional clan wars of local warlords called Rido are, in effect, encouraged. Those wars have resulted in the Maguindanao massacre of 58 people, including 32 journalists.

Local and international media groups have denounced the massacre, its fifth year being commemorated this November 23 with justice and restitution still not served by the Aquino government.

After the latest military exercises conducted by the US in the Philippines, US Marine Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton was caught as the prime suspect for the murder of Jennifer Laude last October near the former US naval base in Subic, Olongapo. He remains under US custody.

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4 Comments

  1. Before we go into tagging those against US military presence as communists or friends of “Communist Chinese bully”, let’s start understanding the 1987 Constitution, which bans foreign military bases, troops, or facilities in the Philippines.

    Foreign military bases or foreign military facilities are not allowed in the country, except when their presence is legitimized by a treaty duly concurred in by the Senate.

    Of course, avid defenders of VFA and EDCA could always find ways to read the country’s laws in manners that would benefit their interests. But a nationalist interpretation of the constitution teaches neither VFA nor EDCA as a treaty.

  2. Rosauro Feliciano on

    All these arguments are in the form of truth. Don’t believe this accusation as there is nothing to support that the Americans are directly or indirectly responsible for the horrific deeds of politicians in Maguindanao. They never meddle in our internal affairs at all. Those who are against the presence of the Americans in our country are hardcore communists and friends of the Communist Chinese bully. These are the kind of people who never say anything against the Communist Chinese manufacturers of illegal drugs in our country.

    • jose b. taganahan on

      Clearly the report is anti-american and totally baseless and should not merit a space in any national newspaper. Further, the Maguindanao massacre is not a RIDO by any stretch of imagination.

    • – “They never meddle in our internal affairs at all.”

      Sino niloloko mo? Panahon pa ng Katipunan nakikialam na mga Kano sa PInas. Di da nilusob nga nila ang Pinas at binagsag ang unang Republika natin.

      – “Those who are against the presence of the Americans in our country are hardcore communists and friends of the Communist Chinese bully.”

      Ano gusto mo? Mag-maangmaangan na lang ang bawat mamamayan habang binabastos ng Kano at ng Gobyerno natin ang Saligang Batas?