Militants declare US defense chief persona-non-grata
Leftwing activists belonging to the fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Saturday declared visiting US Defense Secretary Robert Gates a persona non-grata.
“He is not welcome here. As far as the Filipino people are concerned US Defense Secretary Gates is an undesirable alien and militarist high level personnel of Washington to wants to spread the Gospel of unjust war and destruction in the country,” Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said in a press statement.
According to Hicap, Gates is a certified war monger and an addict of US war on aggression. He said prior to his appointment as Washington’s new defense chief, Gates served for 22 years in the Central Intelligence Agency of US and was the director of US Central Intelligence under former US President George W. Bush.
“Gates credentials as an obsessed political military animal on US war of aggression made him US President Barrack Obama’s first choice for the position and his visit to the Philippines is meant for further US military intervention and war of aggression across-the-archipelago,” Pamalakaya’s Hicap added.
According to Malacañang, Gates will be in the Philippines for a two-day visit starting tomorrow to further strengthen military and security cooperation between the Philippines and the US government.
This is the first visit of a top Washington official to the country under the administration of US President Barrack Obama. Palace officials say Gates will meet on Monday President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo Arroyo and Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro to discuss key regional security developments and bilateral defense cooperation between the two countries.
“Gates will deliver Obama’s marching order to the puppet president that includes the lifetime effectivity of the Visiting Forces Agreement and the counter-insurgency program to eliminate groups highly critical of Washington’s economic, political and military interests in the Philippines,” the Pamalakaya leader said.
“Definitely, Gates will open the gates of hell for the rapid forward deployment of US troops in the country in the name of Washington’s war on terror campaign that will justify American troops’ involvement in Oplan Bantay Laya campaign being waged by the military against armed and unarmed political groups highly critical of the Obama’s cruel intentions and sinister agenda in the Philippines,” Hicap added.
Sources said the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), a military treaty signed by the Philippines and the US in 1999, is likely to figure in the discussions between the US defense chief and Philippine officials.
Last month, the case against US Marine Lance Corporal Daniel Smith previously convicted by a lower court of raping a Filipino woman was dismissed by the Court of Appeals, which has led to renewed calls for the abrogation or review of VFA, citing lopsided terms in the agreement.
But officials of the Arroyo government asserted that the VFA continues to be beneficial to both countries, stressing that US and Philippine military cooperation has led to the capture and death of key leaders of the extremist Abu Sayyaf Group, a terrorist organization that has links with Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda network and is responsible for terror attacks across the country.
The US is the Philippines only mutual defense treaty partner and is the largest source of foreign military financing. US Foreign Military Financing to the Philippines, which contributes to the Armed Forces of the Philippines modernization efforts, is the 12th largest in the world. Of all the countries in East Asia and the Pacific, the Philippines also receives benefits the most from the US government’s International Military and Education Training program. #