The Philippines Chapter of the International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS-Phils) strongly urges all anti-imperialist, anti-fascist, and democratic forces to unite in exposing, opposing, and holding the US-Marcos regime accountable for its warmongering and atrocities against the Filipino people.
Under President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s leadership, the Philippines has increasingly aligned itself with the United States, becoming embroiled in US-led wars in the region.
During his visit to Washington, President Marcos and the western superpower adopted the new Bilateral Defense Guidelines. These guidelines allow the US to intervene not only in the Pacific, as explicitly stated in the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty between the US and the Philippines, but also in the South China Sea. The guidelines state that “an armed attack in the Pacific, including anywhere in the South China Sea, on either country’s public vessels, aircraft, or armed forces – which includes their Coast Guards” would invoke previous mutual defense commitments of acting together to engage in war and “meet the common dangers.”
The guidelines allow US intervention in the planning and budgeting of Philippine security and defense strategies and platforms including internal security under the guise of fighting “terrorism.” The guidelines provide for a “whole of government” approach that would involve the civilian bureaucracy in the implementation of these US-directed defense and security strategies.
The signing of the deal reinforced Marcos Jr.’s commitment to supporting US foreign policy and further entrenched US intervention in Philippine internal affairs. The deal expands the Mutual Defense Treaty and all other military treaties that give the United States extraterritorial rights in the Philippines.
The Marcos-Biden talks took place shortly after the largest US-RP “Balikatan” military exercise to date, involving some 17,500 forces — 12,000 US personnel, 5,000 Philippine troops, 111 Australian defense forces, and observers from other countries, including Japan.
Pres. Marcos announced four new sites for the US under an expanded Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA). The sites are closer to the South China Sea and Taiwan’s southern shores.
More US military bases and weapons sales
The four new EDCA sites are the Lal-lo Airport and Camilo Osias Naval Base/San Vicente Naval Air Station in Cagayan Province up north; Camp Melchor Dela Cruz army base in Isabela Province, also in northern Luzon; and Balabac Island off the southern coast of Palawan near the Spratly Islands in the West Philippine Sea, where China has illegally destroyed coral reefs and built artificial islands equipped with runways and missile systems.
Combined with the five existing sites, EDCA now includes two Philippine army bases, five air stations, and two combined air and navy/coast guard facilities. The other five existing sites are located in Cebu, Cagayan de Oro, Nueva Ecija, Palawan, and Pampanga.
The EDCA, signed in 2014, enables the US to rotate troops into the Philippines for extended stays, build facilities, and pre-position both equipment and supplies at designated Philippine military facilities.
Washington said it expects to have allocated over $100 million by the end of 2023 toward infrastructure investments at the new and existing EDCA sites.
From 2019 to 2021, the US also authorized the “permanent export of almost $171.3 million in defense articles” to the Philippines. These include firearms, close assault weapons, launch vehicles, guided missiles, ballistic missiles, rockets, torpedoes, bombs and mines.
The Philippines is by far the largest recipient of US military assistance in the Asia-Pacific region. This includes foreign military financing, among the biggest in Southeast Asia.
In a report last October, the US State Department’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs said that the US has $1.033 billion in “active government-to-government sales” with the Philippines under the Foreign Military Sales System.
Since 2015, the State Department has provided the Philippines with over $463 million in security assistance. Beginning 2018, the US Department of Defense has provided $237 million.
The United States has been selling weapons to the Philippines at an alarming rate. In 2019 and 2022, the Philippine Defense Department signed contracts to purchase 48 S-70i Black Hawk combat and utility helicopters worth $865 million from the Polish manufacturing firm PZL Mielec, a Lockheed Martin company.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Modernization Program for 2023-2027 provides funding of $4 billion. This is under a 15-year modernization program that started in 2012 and will continue through 2027.
The US military assistance to the Philippines has resulted in human rights violations and conflicts. These foreign military sales have been a rich source for local military corruption aside from colluding with warlords, and drug and other criminal syndicates. This continues despite these weapons being used against the Filipino people themselves.
More US war atrocities
The United States acquired the Philippines as a colony from Spain in 1898, along with Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Guam. In order to crush the Philippine Revolution, which had already established the first democracy in Asia, the US launched a bloody counter-insurgency campaign. More than a million Filipinos were killed in the Filipino-American War of 1898-1902, and the US pacification of the Moro rebellion continued until 1913.
After the Second World War, during which Japan occupied the Philippines and half a million Filipinos died, the US returned to establish its neocolonial rule with successive client regimes. In 1951, during the Cold War, the two countries signed a Mutual Defense Treaty. US troops were mobilized in the Korean War, and US bases were used as staging points in the Vietnam War.
The most notorious of these puppet regimes was the 21-year reign of President Ferdinand Marcos Sr., which included 14 years of US-supported fascist dictatorship under martial law. More than 70,000 people were imprisoned, some 35,000 were tortured, and 3,257 were extrajudicially killed.
Today the dictator’s son is in power. During the very first year of Marcos Jr, human rights groups have already recorded 62 incidents of political killings claiming a total of 97 victims or an average of two killed in a week.
Of those killed, 53 are farmers, and one is from a national minority group. Six of the victims were minors, the youngest of whom is a 9-year-old child. Even a 5-month pregnant woman was killed in a case of indiscriminate firing by soldiers. The majority of these cases were recorded during periods of military and police “counterterrorism” operations.
Indiscriminate firing and aerial bombings of communities have increased as state troops are “modernizing” with US dollars.
The US has a long history of destabilizing regions and nations around the world. Now, even more evident in the Philippines, where the US has pumped more military aid to the Marcos government. This aid has been used to fuel conflicts and escalate human rights abuses. The US has been complicit in these abuses by arming oppressive Philippine regimes, and it is doing so again with the Marcos government.
Support the PH struggle for freedom and democracy
The ILPS-Phils firmly stands against the US war machine and its warmongering in the region, which blatantly violates the sovereignty and national patrimony of Filipinos. We call upon the international community to unite with Filipinos in their campaign to abrogate all US-Philippines agreements, expel US and all foreign troops, halt arms sales and military assistance, and strive for justice and peace for the Filipino people.
The miltitant Filipino struggle for national and social liberation contributes to the global fight against US war machine and its wars of aggression. Throughout history, the Philippines remains a torchbearer of resistance against US imperialism and local reaction. Amid threats to peace and rights abuses by the US-Marcos regime, Filipinos continue to endure and win victories
ILPS-Phils, together with the struggling peoples of the world, are linking arms with the Filipinos in their fight for justice, democracy, and just peace as they build a better future for themselves and their children.
US TROOPS OUT OF THE PHILIPPINES!
STOP THE US WAR MACHINE!
JUNK US-PH BILATERAL DEFENSE GUIDELINES!
DISMANTLE THE US BASES IN THE PHILIPPINES!
JUNK VFA! JUNK EDCA!
NO TO US-LED WARS IN PH & ASIA PACIFIC!