Gabriela seeks removal of military exercises in 2017 budget

Sep. 30, 2016
Davao City protesters burn a US flag to protest its war on terror. (Medel V. Hernani/

Davao City protesters burn a US flag to protest its war on terror. Militant partylist group, Gabriela Women’s Party is supporting the statement of President Rodrigo Duterte to stop the US-Philippines joint military exercises through a resolution filed on Friday, September 30. ( file photo by Medel V. Hernani)

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Gabriela Women’s Party filed a resolution supporting President Rodrigo Duterte’s pronouncement calling for the cessation of the US-Philippines joint military exercises.

Gabriela’s House Resolution 420 welcomes Duterte’s call to have the last military exercise under his term this October “citing numerous cases of violations of women and children’s rights by US troops and the impunity afforded these erring American Military Service Personnel from Philippine criminal jurisdiction as sufficient grounds for the abrogation of these lopsided military agreements.”

“President Duterte is slowly but surely treading the path of an independent foreign policy. After decades of being tied to iniquitous military treaties that has in fact failed to modernize but stunted Philippine military capabilities, it is right and wise to terminate these treaties,” said Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Emmi De Jesus.

The joint military exercises are permitted under the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).

De Jesus said that with the President’s decision to terminate the Balikatan military exercises the partylist group will move introduce amendments in the 2017 General Appropriations Bill to realign the budget allocated for the Visiting Forces Agreement and US-RP military exercises stipulated in the proposed budget of the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of National Defense.

Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas also expressed full support for the President’s decision and expects the full compliance of affected agencies. She said she also hopes that the administration will pursue justice for women and children who were victims of US military atrocities.

“The military exercises have spawned violations and abuses against women and children including the rape of Nicole in Subic and the death of Jennifer Laude. It has resulted to the prostitution and trafficking of Filipino women,” said Brosas.

“We are also hopeful that the President will soon assert the return of the Balangiga Bells as a symbolic gesture from the US government as an admission of the war crimes and atrocities committed by US forces against Filipinos. This will also serve to honor those who died in the Philippine-American War,” she said. (

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