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NDF Southern Mindanao reiterates call to junk VFA

Sep. 30, 2008

The National Democratic Front (NDF) in southern Mindanao urges the Supreme Court of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) to heed the call of the Filipino people against the barefaced interventionism of the United States (US ) by abrogating the extremely one-sided, anti-people Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA). NDF makes the call in light of the recent oral arguments which called for the review of the VFA between the Philippine and US governments.

Despite the continuous defense by US and GRP personnel that the US troops are only here on “short tour of duty” and they do not engage in actual combat operations but only on “humanitarian missions,” people on the ground and even the media prove this argument wrong. Witnesses and reports have confirmed that US troops have been engaging in various military operations in Mindanao, have committed human rights violations, and are not staying in the country temporarily since the VFA was concurred by the two governments.

In February, a witness said US soldiers were part of a raid against suspected members of the Abu Sayyaf group that led to the killing of eight civilians, including two minors and a pregnant woman, in Ipil, Maimbung, Sulu. General Ruben Rafael, commander of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in Sulu, reportedly admitted that a US military crew through a US P-3 Orion spy plane, provided information that led to the Ipil massacre. In August, the Philippine military confirmed that a US helicopter helped in evacuating Filipino soldiers in an encounter in Basilan. Late last month, a military convoy was attacked in Sulu where a US soldier reportedly survived. Early this month, lieutenant colonel Agane Adriatico of the AFP admitted that US troops have been helping them — through technical assistance — in their operations against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

In August, the staff of news agency Mindanews saw firsthand four US soldiers in Barangay Baliki, Midsayap, North Cotabato. Said US soldiers joined the Philippine troops in searching for two 500-pounded general purpose (GP) bombs, which did not explode, dropped by an OV-10 against suspected Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF targets. Early this month, the Mindanews staff again saw at least two US soldiers, all in camouflage uniform, escorted by Philippine soldiers in Datu Saudi Uy Ampatuan in Maguindanao. The Philippine Daily Inquirer also posted a file photo showing a US security convoy, in full battle gear, in Jolo, Sulu. The latter escorted US Ambassador to the Philippines Kristine Kenney who was in Jolo last year to hand out rewards to four informants. It has also posted a photo showing American soldiers carrying minute planes believed to be spy planes.

And who could forget Lance Corporal Daniel Smith, with five US Marines, who gang-raped a Mindanaoan woman in Subic Bay, Olongapo City on November 1, 2005? Smith who’s convicted with rape by the Philippine judiciary and must supposedly be under its custody was later move to the US’s custody.

NDF scoffs at the US troops’ “humanitarian missions” saying these are only meant for intelligence data gathering hidden in the mantra of “winning the hearts and minds” of the people. Its high-tech equipment and war machineries have been used, without restraint, within the Philippine territory. US Navy Ship McDonnell, which helped in the retrieval operations of the crashed C130 plane in Davao Gulf, is an oceanographic survey ship that gathers data to provide US military the information on the ocean environment. The data collected will help improve the US military technology in undersea warfare and enemy ship detection. Meanwhile, the USS Ronald Reagan, which helped in the retrieval operations of the MV Princess of the Stars in August, is a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.

The Philippine government has proven its inutility from all the violations committed by US soldiers and agents. The Filipino people are always left at the losing end with the iniquitous agreements–VFA, Mutual Logistics and Support Agreement, and Mutual Defense Treaty–with the imperialist US.

The people must rise to defend our national sovereignty and patrimony. The New People’s Army is urged to defend and target Philippine and US troops who inflict danger to the populace. We must also rise to oust the corrupt, puppet, and fascist Arroyo regime which continue to defend US interventionism and imperialism in the country. #

(Sgd) Rubi del Mundo

Spokesperson

National Democratic Front of the Philippines

Southern Mindanao

IMPORTANT NOTICE: INBOX is an archive of press releases, statements, announcements, letters to the editors, and manifestos sent to Davao Today for publication. Please email your materials to davaotoday @ gmail.com. Davao Today is not responsible for the content of these materials. The opinion expessed in these items does not reflect those of Davao Today and its staff. Please refer to our terms of use/disclaimer.

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