Category Archives: US intervention

Return of US military bases possible under Teodoro presidency, says leftwing group

Return of US military bases possible under Teodoro presidency, says leftwing group

The left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakaa ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Friday warned the return of US military bases in the country in case Defense secretary and Lakas-Kampi-CMD presidential bet Gilbert Teodoro wins the presidency in 2010 elections.

“The possibility of the return of US military bases in the country is high because Secretary Teodoro is a certified American boy who is obsessed with military treaties, with military bases and with military troops of Washington D.C,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap in a press statement.

“Secretary Teodoro is a rabid supporter of US military intervention and aggression. He has this American military mindset, and he will do whatever he can do for US military interest across Asia and the Pacific. If the US asks him for permanent basing, he will do it without any second thought,” the Pamalakaya leader said.

Hicap said a Teodoro presidency will allow US troops to join combat opeerations with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) against local armed political groups like the New People’s Army, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

“We have a new Vietnam war in the making under a Teodoro presidency. This the clear and present danger of elevating this US lapdog to the highest post in the land,” said Hicap.

On September 16, 1991, the Philippine Senate headed by former Senate President Jovito Salonga and former Vice-President Teofisto Guingona led 12 senators in rejecting the proposed RP-US Military Bases Agreement that officially ended the half-century old US military basing in the country.

But in 1999, the Philippine Senate ratified the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) that allow US military troops to conduct periodic military trainings and military basing in the country on limited duration and scope, although some quarters observed that US is already engaged in permanent basing and Washington is operating discreet military bases in violation of the VFA and the Philippine Constitution on presence of US troops and permanent basing agremeent.

Pamalakaya said the strong inclination of Sec. Teodoro to allow the return of US military bases in evident in his pronouncement yesterday during the hearing of the defense portfolio budget at the House of Representatives.

Teodoro said he is open to more military treaties with foreign countries stressing the need for closer alliances and confidence-building measures.

At the budget hearing for the proposed P57.69 billion appropriation for his department, Teodoro declared he is against moves to abrogate the VFA with the United States and the State of Forces Agreement (Sovfa) with Australia and want more military alliances with other countries.#

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Critics asked: Are US troops allowed to conduct census under VFA? 

Critics asked: Are US troops allowed to conduct census under VFA?

Are the visiting American troops joining the yearly Balikatan exercises under the Visiting Forces Agreement allowed to conduct census in remote farming and fishing villages across the country?

The left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) said their members in Bicol region where one of the joint RP-US military exercises was held this year saw US troops joining their local counterparts in conducting census activities which they said were part of the surveillance operations conducted by the Armed Forces of the Philippines against the New People’s Army in the region.

“As far as we are concerned US troops are strictly prohibited from conducting census and military surveillance according to the 1987 Constitution because its violates the sovereign rights of the Filipino people and by nature, by design and by purpose the census participated by US troops is US military intervention,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said in a press statement.

The Pamalakaya leader posed this legal and constitutional question a day after retired Navy Lt. Nancy Gadian revealed that US soldiers are embedded with Filipino troops in combat situations in Mindanao, and that the United States had taken part in the “planning of combat operations against terrorist and Moro targets in Mindanao.

“Why they are allowed to join government census? It is not the job of American mercenaries to conduct census and surveillance unless they are really planning something big like directing and joining actual combat operations against state targets. It is not even the job of AFP regular forces to conduct census since it is the job of civilian authorities,” said Hicap.

According to a report sent by Lakas ng Mangingisda ng Bicol (Lambat-Bicol), the regional chapter of Pamalakaya last February, it revealed that US military personnel were seen conducting initial surveillance operations ahead of the Balikatan exercises scheduled from April to September eliciting fear and confusion among fishermen, farmers and the rural people.

In the same report, small fishermen started seeing US personnel joining the military census activities in Barangay Mayngaran in Masbate City, Barangay Bagacay, Marintuk, Lalaguna and Balatukan in Mobo town, barangays Marcilla, Dapdap, Panisihan, Buenvista, Armenia, Sawang, Buenasuerte and Magsaysay in Uson town, and in the municipality of Cataingan proper all in Masbate.

Lambat-Bicol also noted the disturbing presence of US troops in Oas town, Albay, particularly in the farming villages of San Pascual, San Miguel and Talisay, where the 5th engineering battalion of the Philippine Army is currently detailed. A number of US troops were also seen in Barangay Liyang, municipality of Irosin in Sorsogon province, ahead of the scheduled RP-US joint military exercises last March.

Pamalakaya said the survey of communities was followed by the announcement of Mr. Celso del Socorro, Officer-in-charge of Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Reforms (BFAR-V) about its plan to impose a region-wide fish ban in Bicol once the Balikatan exercises start in April 2009.

The fish ban according to Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap was announced, because the war games will make use of the interconnecting bodies of water in Bicol region namely the Ragay Gulf, Albay Gulf and Sorsogon Bay that join the provinces of Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, Albay, Sorsogon and Masbate for the loading and unloading of 3,000 US troops and personnel who will participate in the Balikatan exercises.

To show proof that a Balikatan-induced fish ban was implemented, a fish ban in the form of curfew in three coastal towns— Tiwi, Tabacco and Malilipot, all in Albay province were executed last Feb. affecting the fish capture activities of not less than 10,000 small fisherfolk.

The curfew ordinance in Tiwi, Tabaco and Malilipot was effectively utilized to effect a fish ban ahead and during the Balikatan exercises. The three coastal areas in Albay are being used as pilot areas for the Bicol wide fish ban in the name of the RP-US Balikatan exercises and the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) last march.

Reports that reached the national secretariat office of Pamalakaya said the local government units and barangay officials in mentioned coastal towns in Albay have started implementing a 9-hour fish curfew and fish ban from 8:00 pm to 5:00 am beginning February 23 until the Balikatan exercises officially ended sometime in April. #

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Militants declare US defense chief persona-non-grata

UNDESIRABLE ALIEN
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. #

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Leftwing group urges Filipinos to phone and tell GMA to scrap VFA

PATRIOTIC ADVISORY
Leftwing group urges Filipinos to phone and tell GMA to scrap VFA

The left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Tuesday issued a patriotic advisory urging all Filipinos to phone or email the Office of the President and tell President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to scrap the controversial Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).

At the sideline of the re-launching of broad Junk VFA Movement this morning held at the Celebrity Sports Plaza in Quezon City, Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap asked decent thinking, nationalist and patriotic Filipinos to barrage President Arroyo with phone calls and emails urging her government to terminate the defense pact.

“Let us barrage the Office of the President with phone calls and emails asking the no.1 US puppet in Asia to stop her puppetry and perform in accordance with the patriotic and collective interest of the people. This is one way of teaching Mrs. Arroyo that national sovereignty, truth and justice are non-negotiable even if she received 1 million calls from US President Barack Obama, the Pamalakaya leader said.

In their patriotic advisory, Pamalakaya urged all decent and patriotic Filipinos to rise above the occasion and demand from President the scrapping of the VFA, the junking of RP-US joint military exercises and the Mutual Defense Treaty of 1951.

The advisory also contained information where the people could contact President Arroyo like the Palace hotlines—-+63 (2) 564-1451 to 80; +63 (2) 735-8005, the Office of the President’s fax number— +63(2) 736-1010 and the president’s public email corres@op.gov.ph

“Mrs. Arroyo should listen to the voice of the Filipino people against VFA and must entertain and listen to the demand of the Filipino people struggling and asserting their sovereign rights, instead of chasing Obama who is following the terrorist and global police dog regime of US President George W. Bush,” the anti-VFA advisory said.

Pamalakaya, its regional affiliate Lakas ng Mangingisda ng Bicol and other anti-VFA groups in Albay yesterday staged a 50-boat fluvial protest against the defense treaty and the upcoming Balikatan exercises.

The Lambat-Bicol and Pamalakaya said 50 fishing boats assembled in San Roque, Albay at around 8:00 a.m and sailed towards Legaspi City pier by 9:00 a.m. The protesters aboard 50 boats reached the city’s main port by 10:00 a.m where they held a one-hour protest against VFA and Balikatan.

Pamalakaya asserted the RP-US Balikatan exercises were not only meant to gain future access to guerilla fronts maintained by the CPP and the NPA. The joint military training exercises will also cover intelligence and military operations against militant groups in the region, which the AFP and the US State Department labeled as front organizations of the CPP in the Bicol region.

The group said the sinister agenda of Balikatan exercises include intelligence work on various people’s organizations, their leaders and mass members highly critical of US military and economic interests in the Philippines, and who are very vocal against state militarization and foreign intervention. #

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Fish ban due to Balikatan in Bicol now in effect— Pamalakaya reports

Fish ban due to Balikatan in Bicol now in effect— Pamalakaya reports

The left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Tuesday said a Balikatan-induced fish ban in the form of curfew in three coastal towns— Tiwi, Tabaco and Malilipot, all in Albay province are now in progress affecting the fish capture activities of not less than 10,000 small fisherfolk.

The Balikatan-engineered fish ban in aid of curfew was the subject of this morning’s protest at the Department of Agriculture (DA), where fisherfolk activists denounced the fish ban. They asked Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap to recall fish ban and add his voice to the mounting opposition against the series of RP-US joint military exercises scheduled in Masbate, Sorsogon, Albay and Camarines Sur this April.

Around 15 activists from Pamalakaya, the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), Amihan peasant women federation and the student group Nnara-Youth roasted a huge “tambakol” fish at the main entrance gate of agriculture department in Quezon City. Pamalakaya said “tambakol is one of the fish species, small fisherfolk used to catch in the fishing waters of the region.

Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap also challenged Secretary Yap to call for the scrapping of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and reject the proposal of Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Reform (BFAR) Region V officer in charge Celso del Soccoro to implement a Bicol-wide fish ban once the Balikatan exercises go on full blast this April.

“The curfew ordinance in Tiwi, Tabaco and Malilipot is being effectively utilized to effect a fish ban during the Balikatan exercises. The three coastal areas in Albay are being used as pilot areas for the Bicol wide fish ban in the name of the RP-US Balikatan exercises and the VFA,” added Hicap.

According to Pamalakaya vice-chair for Luzon Salvador France, the local government units and barangay officials have started implementing 9-hour fish curfew and fish ban from 8:00 pm to 5:00 am since February 23.

“Fishermen usually go to the sea for fishing from 8:00 in the evening and they will go back home in the morning of next day. That’s the normal practice. Now because there’s an ongoing curfew that subjects all people from all age groups, the fisherfolk are effectively banned from fishing. We don’t usually fish from 5:00 in the morning to 8:00 in the evening, which is the time table now set for all fishing activities in Tiwi, Tabacco and Malilipot,” said France.

France said the implementation of curfew in three coastal towns of Albay confirmed previous report that the DA and BFAR will impose a six-month fish ban in Bicol region beginning April in connection with Balikatan exercises.

“We ask Secretary Arthur Yap to clarify this matter. The fish ban is tantamount to massacre of Bicolano fisher people rights and livelihood. This not only illegal, unconstitutional and immoral, but also super diabolical and all-out evil and puppetry. The VFA should be abrogated in order to stop the mass production of mayhem to the people,” said Pamalakaya.

The militant group said if fish ban is totally effected all over the Bicol region, it will affect the livelihood of more than 100,000 small fishermen in the provinces of Albay, Sorsogon and Masbate connecting the rich the fishing grounds of Albay Gulf, Ragay Gulf and Sorsogon Bay.

The US war ships are expected to carry some 3,000 regular US troops and personnel who will participate in the six-month joint military training.

Pamalakaya told Secretary Yap the six-month RP-US joint military exercises will affect the coastal municipalities and cities of Tiwi, Malilipot, Malinaw, Bacacay, Sto. Domingo, Manito, Rapu-Rapu, Legaspi City and Tabaco City in Albay province, and Prieto Diaz, Bacon, Gubat, Barcelona, Bulusan, Matnog, Casiguran, Bulan, Joban, Donsol, Pilar Magallanes, Castilla and Sorsogon City in Sorsogon province, and nearby coastal municipalities in Masbate province.

“We challenge Secretary Yap to rise above the occasion and add his voice against the Balikatan exercises in Bicol. The RP-US military exercises cannot and will never be a good substitute to the livelihood of the fisherfolk and the fish security of the people,” the group said.

“There’s no recourse for us but to face and fight this anti-fisherfolk Balikatan exercises in the sea, in the parliament of the street and in the court of public opinion. Over a hundred thousand fishermen will lose their livelihood to this crazy and shameful military stint known as Balikatan exercises. We will not allow this puppet government to sacrifice our rights and livelihood to please their Washington-based military puppeteer,” Pamalakaya said.

“The Armed Forces of the Philippines is expected to mobilize thousands of government troops and impose its intimidating presence in fishing communities to provide blanket security to US troops participating in the joint military exercises,” the group said.

Pamalakaya also said the RP-US Balikatan exercises were not only meant to gain future access to guerilla fronts maintained by the CPP and the NPA. The group said the joint military training exercises will also cover intelligence and military operations against militant groups in the region which the AFP and the US State Department labeled as front organizations of the CPP in the Bicol region.

“The sinister agenda of Balikatan exercises include intelligence work on various people’s organizations, their leaders and mass members highly critical of US military and economic interests in the Philippines, and very vocal against the reactionary troops and ruling puppet regime in Malacañang. This is Vietnam War in the making,” the group added. #

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Bicol fishers start seeing US military personnel ahead of Balikatan exercises

Bicol fishers start seeing US military personnel ahead of Balikatan exercises

The left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Saturday said small fishermen in the Bicol region started seeing an unidentified number of US military personnel as early as first to second week of January conducting ocular inspection in various parts of the Bicol.

In an initial report forwarded by Lakas ng Mangingisda ng Bicol (Lambat-Bicol), the regional chapter of Pamalakaya, it revealed that US military personnel were seen conducting initial surveillance operations in Barangay Mayngaran in Masbate City, Barangay Bagacay, Marintuk, Lalaguna and Balatukan in Mobo town, barangays Marcilla, Dapdap, Panisihan, Buenvista, Armenia, Sawang, Buenasuerte and Magsaysay in Uson town, and in the municipality of Cataingan proper all in Masbate.

Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap also said Lambat-Bicol also noted the early presence of US troops in Oas town, Albay, particularly in the farming villages of San Pascual, San Miguel and Talisay, where the 5th engineering battalion of the Philippine Army is currently detailed.

The Pamalakaya leader said a number of US troops were also seen in Barangay Liyang, municipality of Irosin in Sorsogon province

“They are coming by batches and appeared to be gearing for an active stunt as if the entire Bicol region is the new Iraq or Afghanistan for Washington D.C in 2009. The US military troops are seemed gearing for an all-out military intervention that could develop into a US war of aggression in the region. This senseless Balikatan exercises must be stopped at all cost,” added Hicap.

Pamalakaya also assailed the looming imposition of six month to one year fish ban in the entire Bicol region once the RP-US joint military exercises go full blast this April. The group said in anticipation to the US war ships expected to carry some 3,000 regular US troops and personnel who will participate in the six-month joint military training, the government would resort to ban fishing in Ragay Gulf, Albay Gulf and Sorsogon Bay, three of the major fishing areas in Bicol and home to more than 100,000 small fisherfolk.

Pamalakaya said BFAR-Region V will ban fishing in the coastal municipalities and cities of Tiwi, Malilipot, Malinaw, Bacacay, Sto. Domingo, Manito, Rapu-Rapu, Legaspi City and Tobaco City in Albay province, and Prieto Diaz, Bacon, Gubat, Barcelona, Bulusan, Matnog, Casiguran, Bulan, Joban, Donsol, Pilar Magallanes, Castilla and Sorsogon City in Sorsogon province, and nearby coastal municipalities in Masbate province.

“We saw it coming. There’s no recourse for us but to face and fight this anti-fisherfolk Balikatan exercises in the sea, in the parliament of the street and in the court of public opinion. Over a hundred thousand fishermen will lose their livelihood to this crazy and shameful military stint known as Balikatan exercises. We will not allow this puppet government to sacrifice our rights and livelihood to please their Washington-based military puppeteer,” the group said.

“The Armed Forces of the Philippines is expected to mobilize thousands of government troops and impose its intimidating presence in fishing communities to provide blanket security to US troops participating in the joint military exercises,” added Pamalakaya.

Pamalakaya said the RP-US Balikatan exercises were not only meant to gain future access to guerilla fronts maintained by the CPP and the NPA. He said the joint military training exercises will also cover intelligence and military operations against militant groups in the region which the AFP and the US State Department labeled as front organizations of the CPP in the Bicol region.

“The sinister agenda of Balikatan exercises include intelligence work on various people’s organizations, their leaders and mass members highly critical of US military and economic interests in the Philippines, and very vocal against the reactionary troops and ruling puppet regime in Malacañang. This is Vietnam War in the making,” it said. #

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Pamalakaya slams BFAR fish ban in Bicol region due to Balikatan exercises

Pamalakaya slams BFAR fish ban in Bicol region due to Balikatan exercises

The left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Monday slammed the plan of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Region V office to impose a six-month fish ban in the Bicol region in anticipation of the six-month Balikatan exercises that will officially start in April.

A regional BFAR official last week announced that the bureau will impose fish ban starting April to September this year in the provinces of Albay, Sorsogon and Masbate where the RP-US joint military exercises will be held.

“This is tantamount to massacre of Bicolano fisher people rights and livelihood. This not only illegal, unconstitutional and immoral, this is super diabolical and all-out evil and puppetry,” Pamalakaya vice-chair for Luzon Salvador France said in a press statement.

France, also the chairperson of the Pamalakaya-affiliate Lakas ng Mangingisda ng Bicol (Lambat-Bicol) said in anticipation to the US war ships expected to carry some 3,000 regular US troops and personnel who will participate in the six-month joint military training will ban fishing in Ragay Gulf, Albay Gulf and Sorsogon Bay, three of the major fishing areas in Bicol and home to more than 100,000 small fisherfolk.

The Pamalakaya leader said BFAR-Region V will ban fishing in the coastal municipalities and cities of Tiwi, Malilipot, Malinaw, Bacacay, Sto. Domingo, Manito, Rapu-Rapu, Legaspi City and Tobaco City in Albay province, and Prieto Diaz, Bacon, Gubat, Barcelona, Bulusan, Matnog, Casiguran, Bulan, Joban, Donsol, Pilar Magallanes, Castilla and Sorsogon City in Sorsogon province, and nearby coastal municipalities in Masbate province.

“We saw it coming. There’s no recourse for us but to face and fight this anti-fisherfolk Balikatan exercises in the sea, in the parliament of the street and in the court of public opinion. Over a hundred thousand fishermen will lose their livelihood to this crazy and shameful military stint known as Balikatan exercises. We will not allow this puppet government to sacrifice our rights and livelihood to please their Washington-based military puppeteer,” France said.

“The Armed Forces of the Philippines is expected to mobilize thousands of government troops and impose its intimidating presence in fishing communities to provide blanket security to US troops participating in the joint military exercises,” according to Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap.

Hicap said the RP-US Balikatan exercises were not only meant to gain future access to guerilla fronts maintained by the CPP and the NPA. He said the joint military training exercises will also cover intelligence and military operations against militant groups in the region which the AFP and the US State Department labeled as front organizations of the CPP in the Bicol region.

“The sinister agenda of Balikatan exercises include intelligence work on various people’s organizations, their leaders and mass members highly critical of US military and economic interests in the Philippines, and very vocal against the reactionary troops and ruling puppet regime in Malacañang. This is Vietnam War in the making,” Hicap added.

“We hope we could mount a regionally coordinated fluvial protest action in April against US military intervention and war of aggression in the Bicol region,” the Pamalakaya leader added.

Pamalakaya agreed with the observations raised by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed political wing—the NPA that the plan to conduct annual Balikatan exercises in Bicol region and other parts of the country signaled heightened US military intervention in the local civil war.

“The joint war exercises scheduled in Bicol this April are just a premiere night of an upcoming war of aggression to be led by US troops and their puppet mercenaries in the Philippines. The US wants to have a repeat of the Vietnam War in the 60s” the group added.

In an earlier statement, the CPP claimed that in the past three years, there have been several sightings of US spy planes in the vicinity of NPA guerilla fronts in Central Luzon, Southern Tagalog, Bicol and Northeastern and Southern Mindanao. #

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