The recent arrests of six Filipino activists during the Labor Day protest at the United States Embassy in Manila served as a testament to the continuing repression against workers and people’s movement in the Philippines. Thousands of Filipinos storm the streets of Manila, demanding workers’ rights and an end to the US presence in the country, while also calling for accountability for the crimes of imperialism in the massacre of Filipinos and Palestinians. However, the peaceful demonstration was met with brutality as US-trained Philippine police resorted to violence, beating, and water cannoning protestors in an attempt to stop the march.

The cries and signs of protesting Filipinos were clear–U.S., out of the Philippines! This is amid the growing presence of U.S. troops in the archipelago, as evidenced by the ongoing Balikatan war exercises. These military exercises, touted as routine operations, in reality, tramples upon Philippine sovereignty and the rights of the Filipino people.

Under the guise of military cooperation, the Philippines has become a staging ground for US aggression against China, with Balikatan 2024 marking the largest display of US military might in history. With over 12,000 U.S. troops participating alongside allied troops from France and Australia, these exercises served as a clear message aimed at China and intended to escalate tensions in the region.

China continuously harasses Filipino fisherfolk and vessels through its encroachment in the West Philippine Sea (WPS). In a recent display of bullying, Chinese authorities used water cannons against Filipino ships.

However, the U.S.-Marcos regime heralds the Balikatan exercises as the solution by exploiting Chinese aggression in the WPS to justify U.S. militarization of the Philippines. Recently, the U.S. led a joint combat maneuver in Philippine waters with Japan, Australia, and the Philippines, masquerading as “multilateral maritime cooperation.” In reality, these are war provocations, deliberately traversing the waters of WPS, the South China Sea, and areas near the Taiwan Strait to incite full-blown imperialist war.

Meanwhile, Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. shamelessly embraces U.S. intervention. By allowing the Balikatan and the stationing of thousands of U.S. troops in the country, the Marcos regime has led us closer to a direct armed clash between the US and China, endangering millions of Filipinos and neighboring countries. Marcos Jr. grants unfettered access to Americans in exchange for his and his clan’s self-preservation, exposing him as the ultimate lapdog of U.S. imperialism in Asia.

Historically, the U.S. has not only maintained its military bases in the Philippines but has pumped military aid used to harass, violate and kill Filipinos. The Philippines is by far the largest recipient of U.S. military assistance in the Asia Pacific region.

In April of last year, the puppet government of Marcos signed a 5-10-year security plan aimed at the “modernization” of Philippine state forces. This outlined provisions for funding, arming, and U.S. training of its military and police.

To ensure colonial subservience, the legislative proposal, the Philippines Enhanced Resilience Act, has been introduced in the US Congress. The PERA Act seeks to utilize $2.5 billion of US taxpayers’ money for the US presence in the country in the next five years, enabling the establishment of additional military bases on Philippine soil.

The intensification of U.S. interventions and military support in the Philippines is not an isolated incident but rather an attempt by an imperialist power in decline to consolidate power. Biden’s failures on the global stage with his continued support for genocidal Israel, coupled with his desperation for reelection, have fueled a push for militaristic aggression in the Asia Pacific region.

We must stand in solidarity with the Filipino people and oppose the intensifying U.S. military intervention in their country. We must condemn the arrests of anti-imperialist activists and demand accountability for the police brutality and continuing fascism in the Philippines.

ILPS firmly stands against the U.S. war machine and its warmongering in the region. We call upon the peace-loving peoples of the world to unite with Filipinos in their fight to abrogate all U.S.-Philippines agreements, expel U.S. and all foreign troops, and halt arms sales and military assistance. Unite in the struggle for just peace and the liberation of Filipinos and all oppressed peoples!#

U.S. TROOPS OUT OF THE PHILIPPINES!

STOP THE US WAR MACHINE!

DISMANTLE THE US BASES IN THE PHILIPPINES!

JUNK VFA! JUNK EDCA!

NO TO U.S.-LED WARS IN THE PHILIPPINES & ASIA PACIFIC!

Signed:

Len Cooper

ILPS Chairperson

3 May 2024

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