By TYRONE A. VELEZ
Having American troops may not be the solution to the city’s security threats, a city councilor said.
City Councilor Nilo Abellera Jr told reporters that “(T)heir presence would not pacify the threats. This is not the solution. I think the people should be vigilant. If they see someone or something suspicious, they should report this immediately to the authorities.”
“I believe the police under (Police Chief) dela Rosa is competent enough to handle this situation,” Abellera added.
The Davao City Council in 2005 signed a manifesto with barangay captains declaring the city as a “No Balikatan/ No US troops zone” at the height of a series of RP-US joint Balikatan military exercises.
Bayan Muna Representative Carlos Isagani Zarate hoped Duterte would remember this position was made because of the United States’ collusion on bombings in Davao in the past.
“We should remember that in previous bombings, there were many questions surrounding it, yet there was one American, Terrence Meiring, who was arrested when a bomb exploded in his hotel room. He was later frisked away by FBI agents. This established that even before hand, the American government is possibly behind this bombings,” Zarate said.
The Meiring incident happened in 2002, a year before the twin bombings of the old Davao airport and Sasa seaport.
“What we should look at these bombings is who would stand to benefit? Maybe this is a way of conditioning us, or the mayor, to allow US troops in the city,” said Zarate.
Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte earlier made a statement last week implying he would change his stance and allow foreign military forces in the city if security threats continued.
“If the bombings continue, maybe, just maybe I will be forced to review my refusal to give access to foreign military troops in Davao City,” Duterte said Saturday following a meeting with the Rotary Club from South Korea, a country he visited last week before the bombing of two cinemas inside two malls last September 16.
Mayor Duterte earlier revealed he rejected offers by American representatives who asked him to transform the old Davao Airport into headquarters for US drones.
Police investigation had already identified two suspects on the incident, but the latter remain at large even with a 48-hour ultimatum that expired last Saturday and a Php 2-million reward offered by Duterte.
But now, the mayor said, his stand could be overruled by the government’s bilateral agreement with the United States for broader access to Philippine territory.
Radio commentator Dodong Solis said this is the first time the mayor “mellowed down” from his tough position against US intervention because of the American government’s “arm twisting to get what they want.”
Solis said US security interests could be linked to American economic interests in Compostela Valley province like the St. Augustine Copper and Gold mines and the Cadan Resources. The former is located in Pantukan town and has an estimated value of US $24 billion, while the latter is found in New Bataan town and has an economic value of $ 38 billion.
Bayan Southern Mindanao spokesperson Sheena Duazo warned that “The presence of US troops in Zamboanga and the militarization in the countryside shows the plan for wide-scale plunder in Mindanao.”
Duazo said this pressure on the city could be a preparation for the visit of US President Barack Obama to the Philippines on October 12, who would discuss the new rotational-framework and access agreement to heighten American troops presence and operations all over the country.
Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares said the government had long allowed US military facilities in three areas in the country since 2002. Among the areas are Camp Navarro in Zamboanga City last August and Camp Sionco in Cotabato City around 2004. (Tyrone A. Velez, davaotoday.com)Davao City bombings, Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, US intervention, US military intervention, VFA