Negotiations over granting US military access are nothing but a masquerade--CPP

Information Bureau
Communist Party of the Philippines
August 14, 2013

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) said negotiations scheduled to start today between the Aquino regime and US military officials over granting the US military access to local facilities are nothing but a masquerade to formalize what has been US practice of making use of the Philippines as a military base long acceded to and supported by the Aquino regime.

The CPP issued this statement in reaction to claims made yesterday by Aquino's spokesperson that the access agreement is "not a done deal" and that the Aquino government wants to make sure that the constitutional prohibition against foreign military bases are not violated.

"Aquino is a puppet pretending he is not," said the CPP. "Under the Aquino regime, the US military has gained unprecedented access to Philippine sea and air ports to dock its ships and land and launch its jet fighters and surveillance drones," said the CPP. "The entire Philippines has long been serving as a big military base of the US."

The Philippine government announced yesterday that "negotiations" with the US government are set to start today. The Aquino regime is set to be represented by "two of the staunchest defenders and apologists of US military presence and basing in the Philippines", Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto del Rosario.

"The plan to grant the US greater military access to local ports and infrastructure and extending rights to set up its own facilities has long been agreed upon by the Aquino government and the US military." This arrangement was clinched in the Strategic Defense Dialogue held in Washington way back in January 2012 right after US President Obama declared his government's strategy to pivot towards Asia where it plans to deploy more than half of its naval overseas troops.

"Even Aquino's spokesperson declared yesterday that negotiations will simply focus on the details of allowing the US access," said the CPP. "Considering that the US has long been granted access by the Aquino regime, the current round of 'negotiations' will likely result in allowing the US to have exclusive access to certain facilities, which is a step further in formally allowing the return of the US military bases."

"Granting the US military access to local facilities has long been agreed between the US and the Philippine government. The so-called US and Philippine negotiations are nothing but a masquerade to make it appear that the puppet Aquino regime is concerned with defending Philippine sovereignty."

"Considering the Aquino regime's display of all-out subservience to the US, current negotiations between his officials and the US military will undoubtedly be geared towards strengthening US foothold in the Philippines and its use of the Philippines as a US military outpost in the Asia-Pacific," added the CPP.

The US has been maintaining permanent presence in the Philippines with the basing since 2002 of the 700-strong US Pacific Command's Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines (JSOTF-P) in its exclusive base within the AFP Western Command's Camp Navarro in Zamboanga City. This is further augmented by the permanent presence of US naval ships which dock at Subic and other ports in regular intervals. US warships docked in Philippine ports close to 100 times last year.

"The CPP maintains the position that further strengthening and expanding US military presence in the Philippines violate Philippine sovereignty as it allows the US to use the country as a staging point of its interventionist wars and hegemonist operations in the Asia-Pacific region. American combat troops further interfere in local combat operations in order to establish its military might, target local anti-imperialist forces in the guise of 'fighting terrorism' and help strengthen the exploitative and oppressive social system."

"The Filipino people must firmly unite to oppose and put an end to the permanent presence of interventionist US troops in the Philippines and the rotational docking of US warships," added the CPP. "They must oppose the Visiting Forces Agreement and the Mutual Defense Treaty which has been used by the US and the Aquino governments as justification for the permanent and growing presence of US military troops in the country."