Migrante-International opposes the biggest Balikatan military exercise between the US and the Philippines, which started on April 11 and will last until April 28. This military exercise is a bad sign of the times. It shows the intensifying geopolitical rivalry between the US and China, the increasing militaristic form that said rivalry is taking, and the Philippine government’s puppetry to the US, which puts the country and Filipinos in danger.
The main objectives of the military exercise are clear in the areas that it covers: maritime security, amphibious operations, live-fire exercise, and aviation operations. At the same time, the inclusion of urban operations and counter-terrorism also shows the US’ intrusion into the Philippines’ domestic affairs, as this means attacking the revolutionary movement, which the US and the Philippine governments have labelled terrorists and have equated with legal progressive organizations and mass movements. The inclusion of humanitarian assistance and disaster response is a desperate attempt to make these exercises more relevant and palatable to the Filipino people.
The Filipino migrants and people demand that the Philippine government stand for national sovereignty and peace amidst intensifying tensions between the US and China. Faced with China’s aggressive assertion of its claims on Philippine territory, the Philippine government should exhaust all peaceful means of asserting Philippine sovereignty, and not look for militarist solutions which only lead to depending on the US.
With regard to the revolutionary movement in the Philippines, the Filipino migrants and people demand that the Philippine government address the economic, social and political root causes of the armed struggle and renounce militarist approaches. We also demand that the US government stop funding the Philippine government’s war against the Filipino people and stop training the Philippine military for this war.
We condemn the Bongbong Marcos regime for pursuing its interests that are exposed by the Balikatan exercises. Unwilling and unable to stand for Philippine sovereignty, and wanting to deodorize the Marcos family’s name that is rightfully associated with fascism and plunder, it is sucking up to the US. Unwilling and unable to address the root causes of the armed conflict, it is following US dictates to pursue a militarist solution and silence all forms of dissent and opposition in the country.
We migrant Filipinos desire a truly independent Philippines that serves Filipinos. We hope that the Philippines breaks free from US neocolonial dictates that have made the country underdeveloped and dependent on the migrant Filipinos’ financial remittances. These dictates also made the Philippines a US vassal state in the first Cold War, a role that the Marcos regime seems to want to continue amidst an emerging new Cold War.###