19 March 2024

The International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS) denounces the visit of US State Department Secretary Anthony Blinken to Manila. “A war criminal such as Blinken is unwelcome on Philippine soil. His agenda not only aims to escalate US warmongering in the Asia Pacific but also, we are well aware of his and US’ crimes in the genocide of Palestinians,” asserts Filipino activist and ILPS  General Secretary Liza Maza.

Blinken arrived in the Philippines on Monday night for his second visit to the country since President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. assumed office, amid escalating tensions between the Philippines and China concerning maritime disputes in the South China Sea. Marcos, labelled a US puppet, has disclosed his scheduled meeting with the US official on March 19, purportedly centered on matters of “cooperation” and “security.”

“Blinken and the US imperialist  are no friends of Filipinos or any peace-loving peoples of the world,” says Maza. According to ILPS, with its long history of colonization, waging wars of aggression, intervention, and genocide– the US has never been an ally of the Filipino people. 

The secretary of state who earned the monicker “Bloody Blinken” and “secretary of genocide,” has been the face of President Biden’s policy of killings in occupied Palestine. The US has been actively supporting Israel in its massacre of Palestinians through a continuous supply of military aid, encompassing arms, munitions, aerial support, and intelligence cooperation.

“Bloody Blinken represents the US war machine that is responsible for death and misery on peoples across the world. It has used the Philippines as a neo-colony and will continue to do so by making it a launchpad for its wars of aggression to advance its economic and political interests in the region,” says Maza.

The US and Philippine military have announced that the 39th Balikatan, scheduled for April and May, will be the largest to date, with a primary focus on strategic areas featuring dense Chinese ship presence. Balikatan 2024 is part of over 500 planned US military activities in the Philippines this year. These plans exclude unilateral wargames, such as “large deck exercises” in the Philippine Sea near Taiwan, which involve US and Japanese warships and utilize extraterritorial rights granted by the Philippine government.

In May of last year, Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and US President Biden signed the Bilateral Defense Guidelines, reaffirming the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) of 1951, a colonial pact binding the Philippines to US foreign policy. In April 2023, the Philippines signed a 5-10-year security plan aimed at the “modernization” of AFP weapons, camps, and facilities. These agreements outlined provisions for funding, training, and arming the Philippine military, with the objective of outcompeting China which is a rising superpower.

“Since the existence of the MDT, it has historically served as a basis for the blatant interference of the US in the internal affairs of the country while dragging the Philippines into US-led wars,” Maza asserts. 

The ILPS chapter in the Philippines has criticized US warmongering in the Asia Pacific and Marcos’ steadfast support for the US war agenda, cautioning that this amounts to a surrender of Philippine sovereignty. They warn that “in exchange for military aid and political support, the country will be dragged into conflicts on behalf of the US.” 

The planned expansion of US military facilities under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), coupled with increased troop presence during military exercises under the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), threatens to effectively convert the entire country into a US military base. Persistent concerns surround the vulnerability of women, children, and the LGBTQI community to crimes and violence perpetrated by US soldiers, as commited in the past.

According to ILPS, Blinken’s objective now is to double down on these agreements and military exercises, solidifying the Philippine government’s subservience. In return, Marcos benefits from US support and protection.

“We, alongside the Filipino people, reiterate that Bloody Blinken, his death machines, and soldiers are not welcome in the Philippines. We urge the international community to stand in solidarity with Filipinos in their call to abolish all US-Philippines agreements, expel US and all foreign troops, cease arms sales and military assistance, and work towards justice and peace for the Philippines and the region,” concludes Maza.#

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