Deceptions and misnomers cover the arrival, stay and conduct of US troops in the Philippines, as noted by progressive and patriotic groups who questioned, too, the very pretexts being used to expand US military presence in the country and in the region.
See also: Groups slam sellout to US by Aquino Govt
Soldiers maul protesters of US-RP military exercises
By MARYA SALAMAT
MANILA – Some analysts recently wrote that the United States now regards Asia as the new Middle East, in the light of its recent foreign policy shift toward Asia involving greater economic, political and military engagement in the region. But according to independent think tank Ibon Philippines, the shift has started as early as 2001 when the US Quadrennial Defense Review proclaimed a shift to Asia and a corresponding increase in US military presence through fixed bases, rotational deployments, training exercises and logistical arrangements.
As early as 2002, the US had called the Philippines its “second front [in the war on terrorism]” and since then, it has dramatically built up its military presence all over the Philippines.
Ibon has mapped the locations of US military exercises and other arrangements, called by different names, but essentially designed to ensure US military presence throughout the first decade of 2000s. “The US military has made extensive use of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) to station some 600 to 700 special forces troops in the country and to bring in as much as 7,000 additional soldiers at a time under so-called joint exercises, civil-military actions and relief operations,” Ibon noted. It has also used the Mutual Logistics and Support Agreement (MLSA) to establish military outposts, have access to facilities, and construct warehouses for its war materiel.
(Chart by Ibon Philippines / bulatlat.com)
Initial reports said that nearly 5,000 US troops would participate, plus thousands of Filipino soldiers.
Some US troops are also to be deployed in urban centers, even in Metro Manila. Kadamay, a national organization of the urban poor, said this deployment is being disguised as part of the Aquino government’s disaster risk-management and other socio-civic programs.
But according to the urban poor group, the deployment of more local and foreign troops to urban poor communities only aims to quell the support being earned by progressive organizations which the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) accuses as fronts of Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)..... MORE