Biggest Balikatan war games, EDCA to spark renewed Filipino patriotism vs. foreign military intervention – updates from the peasant movement of the Philippines

The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) said the ongoing Balikatan military exercises will inevitably spark Filipino patriotism anew against foreign military intervention and war-mongering of the United States government.

“More and more sectors are opposing Balikatan and new U.S. military bases under the EDCA. Neither U.S. nor China will make the Indo-Pacific region peaceful, secure, and prosperous. Worse, the Philippines is caught in between the dangerous and provocative military power play between these two nations. The social costs of Balikatan and EDCA will be too much to bear for Filipinos.”

“Ginagamit ng militar at gobyerno ng Estados Unidos na sangkalan at batayan ang sigalot sa West Philippine Sea para magtambak ng mga tropa at gawing “playground” ang Pilipinas sa isinasagawang Balikatan. Pero hindi basta-bastang war games ang ginagawa nila kundi totoo at mapanganib na mga joint military trainings na nagdudulot ng sindak sa mamamayan.”

(“The military and government of the United States are using the conflict in the West Philippine Sea as an unjust basis to pile up troops and turn the Philippines into a “playground” for the ongoing Balikatan. But they are not just playing war games, they conducting real and dangerous joint military trainings that cause fear in the people.”)

The live-fire war games will use the following: Autonomous Truck Mounted Howitzer System (ATMOS 2000), Fast Frigate Patrol Ships, A-29B Super Tucano fighter jets, landing platform docks Fighting Falcon, KC-130J Super Herculese, KC-135 Stratotanker, MV-22 Osprey, UH-1Y Venom, AH-1Z Viper, UH-53 Super Stallion, Joint Tactical Light Vehicle and F-35 Lightning II, AH-64 Apache, HH-60 MEDEVAC Blackhawk, UH-60 Blackhawk, CH-47 Chinooks, water crafts, rocket launcher and Patriot and Avenger Battery Systems, Expeditionary Sea Base, MH-60S Seahawk, P-8A Poseidon, and expeditionary sea bases.

Along with the large-scale Balikatan, the Marcos administration also granted the U.S. military access to four additional bases under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) — Naval Base Camilo Osias in Santa Ana, Cagayan; Camp Melchor Dela Cruz in Gamu, Isabela; Balabac Island in Palawan; and Lal-lo Airport in Cagayan, all of which face the West Philippine Sea.

The Philippines has been receiving the biggest U.S. military and security aid among Southeast Asian countries and is expected to still get the biggest amount in 2024 or $48.8 million. ##

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Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas

The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas or Peasant Movement of the Philippines (KMP) was founded at a time of great political upheaval and broad mass movement against the tyranny and abuses of the Marcos dictatorship. Hundreds of peasant leaders and land reform advocates from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao gathered during the historic founding of KMP on July 24, 1985. After thirty five years, KMP remains as the largest national democratic mass organization of peasants in the Philippines.

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