The International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS) denounces the meeting between US President Joe Biden and Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr at the White House on May 1 that will only serve to strengthen the neocolonial hold of the US over the Philippines. The meeting will be Marcos Jr.’s first order of business upon his arrival for an official visit to Washington and his second trip to the US in less than a year. High on the agenda of the meeting is security and defense cooperation. 

“Contrary to the claims of both the White House and Malacañang that the meeting will ‘reaffirm the bonds of friendship’ and special long-standing relationship of the two countries, this meeting aims to seal an agreement that will entrench US military presence in the Philippines through an expanded and upgraded Mutual Defence Treaty and additional security and defense guidelines and arrangements. The US wants to assert its hegemonic interests in the Indo-Pacific region in the face of China’s rising economic and military power. The US is using its puppet, Marcos Jr., to advance its strategic goals of containing China, securing its military bases and access agreements, and exploiting the natural resources and cheap labor of the Philippines and other countries in the region.” ILPS General Secretary Liza Maza said. 

The ILPS is a global organization that supports, promotes and develops anti-imperialist and democratic struggles of the world’s peoples. It stands in solidarity with the workers and oppressed peoples of the world who are fighting for their rights and liberation and rejects the US-led war  that threatens to plunge humanity into a new world war.

The United States has a long and bloody history of intervention and domination in the Philippines with almost five decades of colonization after defeating Spain in 1898. The US massacred hundreds of thousands of Filipinos who fought for their independence, including thousands of Muslims in Mindanao. It imposed its political, economic, cultural, and military control on the Philippines through puppet regimes, unequal treaties, neoliberal policies, media propaganda, and covert operations. 

The US supported the brutal dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos Sr., who declared martial law in 1972 and plundered the country’s wealth and resources. The US also backed successive administrations that continued to implement pro-US and anti-people policies that resulted in widespread poverty, inequality, corruption, human rights violations, environmental degradation, and armed conflicts.

“The Marcos family has yet again betrayed the Filipino people by selling out their national sovereignty and democratic rights to their US masters. Marcos Jr. has allowed the US to use four more military bases in the Philippines, in addition to the existing five under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).” Maza adds.

As a supplement to the Mutual Defense Treaty and the Visiting Forces Agreement, the EDCA allows the US to rotate troops into the Philippines for extended stays and to build and operate facilities on agreed locations in the Philippines as bases for use of US troops. The US military-industrial complex, which benefits from increased military spending by the US government, often at the expense of social welfare and development programs, has a role in EDCA. The recently concluded Balikatan Exercises held in the Philippines, for example, was a showcase of the arms and war materiel that the US military-industrial complex supplied to participants of the war games and a sales pitch to potential buyers of US defense products.

Maza also deplored the increasing securitization of US development aid to the Philippines citing the announcement of Philippine Undersecretary Galvez after the 2 + 2 Ministerial meeting between the US and the Philippines last month that the US promised more investments through the USAID in the communities where EDCA sites are located. “ It is an illusion to think that the US is providing aid out of its moral obligation as an equal partner or as a benevolent big brother to the Philippines. The reality is that aid is provided to protect and advance the security and defense interests of the US,” she said.

 “On the International Workers Day, the Filipino people will not forget that Marcos Jr. chooses to reaffirm his loyalty to his imperialist master instead of facing millions of Filipino workers amid rising economic challenges. The people will continue to march forward and assert our rights and freedoms against imperialism and all reaction.” Maza ends.

For reference:

Liza Maza

General Secretary

International League of Peoples’ Struggle

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