Tag Archives: Visiting Forces Agreement

Aquino is new US puppet, critics say

By Trinity Biglang Awa and Sugar Hicap

MANILA, Philippines- As far as the group of leftwing fisherfolk alliance is concerned the well publicized meeting between US Ambassador Harry K. Thomas Jr. to the Philippines Harry K. Thomas Jr. and presumptive President elect Sen. Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III at the latter’s residence in Times Street in Quezon City is an open declaration that leading presidential candidate is the new puppet of Washington D.C.

“It is like Ambassador Thomas Jr. telling the people of the Philippines and the international community Hey world President Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino Jr. is Washington’s latest political puppet in Southeast Asia. Common everybody break a leg and join the fun,” the Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) said in a press statement.

Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said the American ambassador meeting with Aquino could also be viewed as marching order to the Philippine Senate and the House of Representatives to rush the proclamation of Aquino and his would be vice-president before June 30.

“The US does not want the election protests which stemmed from allegations of automated cheating and rigged elections to escalate and derail the proclamation of Aquino and the winning vice-presidential candidate. The operators of Washington D.C want the smooth criminals to takeover the seat of power from a former puppet in a smooth transition mode,” added Hicap.

The Pamalakaya official said the meeting of US Ambassador Thomas Jr. with Aquino could be interpreted as White House call for Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and House Speaker Prospero Nograles to give up partisan politics and other narrow political interests to ensure the smooth transfer of the republic from the Strong Republic of Arroyo to the Yellow Republic of Aquino.

Meanwhile, Pamalakaya predicted that the Aquino presidency will continue to follow the political and economic prescriptions of the US government. The militant group said Aquino is not inclined to put on review and possible termination of the controversial Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).

The militant group said there is also strong indication the proposed RP-US Free Trade Agreement will be ratified by the Philippine Senate under the Aquino presidency.

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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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Obama told: Meeting with GMA is a kiss of death

Obama told: Meeting with GMA is a kiss of death

Ardent critics of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Friday warned US President Barack Obama that her scheduled meeting with Ms Arroyo is a kiss of death, adding that the meeting will spawn political protests here and in the United States.

In a press statement, the left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) said Obama’s meeting with Ms Arroyo will put the Obama administration in the hot water because he would be rubbing elbows with GMA, who is former US President George Bush no.1 partner in global terrorism in Asian region.

“Obama’s meeting with President Arroyo is one of the most shocking political scandals in the 21st century. Here is an American president who won the presidency courtesy of people’s resistance against Bush war on terror now hosting and paying Bush’s chief partner in crime in Southeast Asia,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap.

“The meeting would be a kiss of death for Obama, unless Obama comes to his senses and rebuke GMA in front of the American public and the international community. The US President has no option but to reject and embarrass Ms Arroyo for her crimes against the Filipino people,” the Pamalakaya leader added.

Hicap said the meeting with GMA will put Obama on the spotlight, adding the Filipino people and anti-Bush global community will certainly dislike a Bush protégée in Southeast Asia exchanging pleasantries with Obama.

“That tin cup diplomacy will not yield positive results for the Obama administration, in fact, that will put more questions and doubts as to the real agenda and motive of Mr. Obama,” he added.

Pamalakaya sensed that President Arroyo will offer a number of exchange deals with the White House in exchange for Obama’s support on her bid to extend her term and perpetuate herself to power beyond 2010.

Among the “offers” Ms Arroyo will lodge to Obama in exchange for term extension and White House support to Arroyo administration are the continuation of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), the railroading of Charter Change that will allow US business groups to acquire 100 foreign ownership of land in the Philippines and eventual return of US military bases in the country and ratification of the proposed RP-US Free Trade Agreement.

Meanwhile, Pamalakaya is set to reproduce and distribute copies and discuss the controversial Washington Times editorial last July 26 castigating Obama for entertaining President Arroyo at the White House.

Pamalakaya information officer Gerry Albert Corpuz said the editorial entitled Obama: The Sanitizer will be reproduced by their group and will be discussed to leaders and members of the fisherfolk alliance. “This is to show that even conservatives in the US are not in favor of Ms Arroyo and highly critical of Obama’s scheduled meeting with GMA,” he said.

The editorial which came a day ahead of President Arroyo’s 9th and supposedly last State of the Nation Address said Obama committed a mistake when it invited the Philippine President to the White House on the premise that the Philippine top elected official is using Obama to give political cover for her troubles back home.

The Washington Times said Ms Arroyo’s domestic political position was precarious citing the Philippine President’s low approval rating and the growing anti-administration street protests in response to a dubious mandate following the fraud-rigged presidential elections in 2004 and scores of allegations of corruption against her husband First Gentleman Atty Jose Miguel Arroyo and members of her family and close political associates in and out of Malacañang Palace.

The editorial also scored Manila’s poor performance in upholding human rights in the Philippines. Quoting several reports and studies, Washington Times took note of the Arroyo administration’s failures to address and stop the killings of journalists and political activists in the country over the last 9 years.

The Washington Times also took a swipe on President Arroyo’s gameplan to perpetuate herself to power either through revision of the 1987 Constitution to allow her to extend her term or through the declaration of Martial Law.

“President Arroyo and her close political associates were extremely rattled by the editorial of the Washington Times, asserting that the Manila government’s irresponsible reaction to the editorial further confirmed that the Manila government is always in the state of denial and state of political panic,” Corpuz said.

“The shockwaves sent by the Washington Times editorial caused irreparable damage to the Arroyo administration as shown by President Arroyo response which is dismissed by critics as plain rumor mongering and patently name calling to down play the political impact of the editorial criticizing Obama for entertaining President Arroyo at the White House,” he added.

Corpuz said Washington Times merely reiterated the objective political condition in Manila and the crimes of President Arroyo ranging from grand scale corruption to election fraud to killings of political opponents and critics are all known to the international community and the Filipino public.

“The Washington Times editorial is a friendly reminder and a good political advice to President Obama. It just cautioned Obama and the American people on the serious implications of hosting a Southeast Asian leader notorious for denying the Filipino people of their electoral mandate and hated by the 90 million Filipinos for high crimes of corruption and extreme brutality,” the group said.

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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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Militant fishers set Bicol wide “fluvial protest” against Obama’s push for VFA

Militant fishers set Bicol wide “fluvial protest” against Obama’s push for VFA

Calling US President Barack Obama the biggest disappointment of the 21st century, leftwing activists belonging to the left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) and its regional affiliate Lakas ng Mangingisda ng Bicol (Lambat-Bicol) will hold a Bicol wide fluvial protest against the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and the upcoming RP-US joint military exercises in the region.

Lambat-chairperson and Pamalakaya vice chair for Luzon Salvador France said their groups were disappointed with Obama’s call to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo urging her to keep the defense pact intact and praising the government’s efforts on counter terrorism.

To express their outrage against Obama’s push for VFA and Balikatan exercises in the country, Pamalakaya and Lambat-Bicol together with anti-Balikatan groups Ban Balikatan and Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-Bicol chapter will stage a fluvial protest tomorrow.

The Lambat-Bicol and Pamalakaya leader said 30 fishing boats will assemble in San Roque, Albay at around 8:00 a.m and will sail towards Legaspi City pier by 9:00 a.m. France said the fluvial protesters are expected to reach the city’s main port by 10:00 a.m where they will hold a one-hour protest against VFA and Balikatan.

France also said the fisherfolk protesters and other activists who will participate in the anti-VFA and anti-Balikatan protest will burn US flags to dramatize their protest against what they called Obama-directed US military intervention and war of aggression in the country.

“This is plain and simple case of same dog, new collar syndrome. Mr. Obama is the new George W. Bush of Washington D.C and his color is now changing from black to bloody red by endorsing the VFA and the Balikatan exercises yearly stage under the tutelage of this one-sided and anti-Filipino defense pact between the US and the Philippines,” said Pamalakaya.

Pamalakaya and Lambat-Bicol said fluvial protests will also be held in Sorsogon and Masbate today. “This region wide Bangkaan laban sa Balikatan exercises (boat-to-boat exercises) will be the Bicolano fisherfolk’s expression of outrage against this undeniable intervention and war of aggression by US military troops under the camouflage of Balikatan exercises,” they said.

For his part, Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said the fisherfolk will take this opportunity to tell the people of Bicol, of the Philippines and of the entire universe, that the RP-US joint military exercises are nothing but pure US militarism and acts of intervention and aggression.

Hicap 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 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,” he said. #

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