Bai Ali Indayla, secretary general of Kawagib Moro Human Rights alliance says they laud President Rodrigo Duterte’s recognition of the historical injustices against the Moro people. Indayla was among the reactors of the forum on the peace talks between the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines held at the Ateneo de Davao University on Tuesday, September 13. (Zea Io Ming C. Capistrano/

DAVAO CITY — Various groups are urging President Rodrigo Duterte to end agreements with the United States following his declaration of pushing for an independent foreign policy and the pullout of US Special Forces in Mindanao.

Multisectoral organization Sanlakas said they welcome Duterte’s declaration and said he “must go beyond rhetoric by revoking the Visiting Forces Agreement, Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement and similar military agreements with US consistent with its desire to pursue an independent foreign policy.”

“In the same vein, sovereignty should be the primordial and an underpinning principle governing how the Philippines should relate to other countries, including China,” the group said in a statement on Tuesday, September 13.

In a speech in Malacañang on Monday, September 12, Duterte said the US Special Forces have to leave Mindanao. He said he wanted to review the foreign policy before

“Hindi ko lang masalita noon (I just cannot talk about it before), out of respect or I do not want a rift with America, but they have to go,” he said.

The President also presented images of the US operations in Mindanao showing Moro people killed violently by US troops during the time of American colonization. He said the images were from a “US archive”.

Duterte also announced that he will push for an independent foreign policy following the conclusion of the ASEAN Summit in Vientiane, Laos.

“In relations with the world, the Philippines will pursue an independent foreign policy. We will observe and insist – I repeat, I insist – on the time honored principles of sovereign equality, non-interference and commitment to the peaceful settlement of disputes to best serve our people and protect the interests of our country,” he said during the arrival ceremony at the Davao International Airport on Saturday midnight, September 10

Historical injustices

Bai Ali Indayla, secretary general of Kawagib Moro Human Rights organization said they appreciate Duterte’s recognition that there were historical injustices committed against the Moro people.

She said the government should junk the EDCA and VFA “which we do not need.”

“We should stand up as an independent country,” she said.

Indayla said Duterte’s actions is a way of telling the US that they have done wrong against the Moro people.

“That they have not yet offered any apology and indemnification to afford justice to the victims,” she told Davao Today in an interview during a forum on peace talks at the Ateneo de Davao University Tuesday.

“Whatever the President’s objective is for doing it, it was a big thing for us,” she said.

She said the pullout of the US troops in Mindanao is not just because of the possibility that they can be targets of attacks, but because the foreign troops were involved in atrocities against the Moro people.

“They are not just attacking Moro communities and raping the women, they also trample on our national sovereignty that is why we have been calling for the pullout of US troops long before President Duterte’s pronouncements,” she said.

Duterte told: Be like Recto

Meanwhile, Anakpawis Partylist Rep. Ariel Casilao said Duterte should emulate former Senator Claro M. Recto who opposed the 1947 Military Bases Agreement, the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty and the Tydings Rehabilitation Act.

He said Duterte should ultimately rid of the foreign military forces from the whole country by abrogating EDCA, the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and the Mutual Defense Treaty.

Casilao said that the mere existence of the partial agreements “is contrary to the president’s declaration of an independent foreign policy.”

However, Casilao cautioned the president against the maneuvers of the US who would not be taking his criticisms seating down.

“This September 11 was the anniversary of the CIA-backed coup d’etat against the democratically elected Allende government of Chile in 1973, and recently left-leaning Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff who garnered 55 million votes during the 2010 elections was impeached by 61 senators,” Casilao said.

“They were ousted because they opposed the dictates of US, and its president Barack Obama had the gall to insinuate reminding the president about human rights,” he added.


CPP: remove all US troops

The Communist Party of the Philippines also called on Duterte to remove US troops “not only in Mindanao”.

“There are US special forces, army and naval troops operating across the entire country. Under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) of 2014, the US military has set up or is setting-up facilities inside AFP camps such as Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija, Basa Air Base in Pampanga, Antonio Bautista Air Base in Palawan, Benito Ebuen Air Base in Mactan and Lumbia Airport in Cagayan de Oro,” the CPP said in a statement on Tuesday.

It said: “US military troops and advisers have long been operating clandestinely inside AFP camps in Cagayan Valley, Bicol, Samar, Panay, Negros and elsewhere. US troops remain stationed in Guian, Samar, which they have not left since 2013 after extending “assistance” in the wake of supertyphoon Yolanda.”
It also said that many US soldiers are not Caucasian so as not to attract attention.
Thousands of US troops regularly dock at various ports of the country for “rest and recreation” subjecting Filipino women to rape and abuse, the CPP said.
It said President Duterte must also demand an investigation on the US troops operations carried out in Sulu, the rest of Mindanao as well as in other parts of the country. (
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