December 17, 2013

Reference: Valerie Francisco, Chairperson, GABRIELA USA,

Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in the Philippines this morning to meet with President Benigno Aquino III to strengthen agreements on increasing military presence in the Philippines. In recent months, President Aquino has been infringing on Philippine sovereignty again by allowing an increase in the number of U.S. troops, aircrafts and warships in the Philippines at a time when Washington, D.C. is heightening its position over the Asia Pacific region. “The need for relief in the aftermath of Super Typhoon Haiyan is being exploited by the U.S.-Aquino regime to justify the presence of thousands of U.S. troops,” says Valerie Francisco, Chairperson of GABRIELA USA.

The health, safety and vitality of Filipinos will be put at risk with the increased presence of troops, weapons and nuclear materials. The Filipino people know all too well, the increased presence of US military will only escalate the human rights abuses that are already happening under the current administration, and bring more insecurity to the country like it has in many other parts of the world.  Since the reinstatement of US bases in the Philippines after they were booted out in 1991, the rise in prostitution of Filipina women skyrocketed to more than 600%.  More U.S. troops can only mean more cases of violence against women in children. After Super Typhoon Haiyan, women and children are even more vulnerable and subject to gender and sexual violence due to displacement and a lack of resources.

According to GABRIELA Secretary General, Joms Salvador “More than 60,000 women have been prostituted in Subic and Clark. More than 3,000 cases of VAWC were committed but not even a single perpetrator was punished. While the U.S. insists that the Philippines will retain control over facilities used by US troops, we know very well that under the defunct Military Bases Agreement and the current Visiting Forces Agreement, American soldiers are practically untouchables.”

The U.S.’s proclamation of America’s Pacific Century is the political agenda under which the military occupation is being prioritized in guise of relief and rehabilitation. Instead of the Philippine government upholding the sovereignty of the Philippines, the Aquino administration are submitting to political puppetry as their failing record on relief has put them in the dog house over surmounting discontent of the Filipino people due to the Pork Barrel scandal. Aquino is attempting to win back their trust by solidifying his allegiance to the United States, rather than putting the Filipino people’s welfare first.

Filipina Women say NO to US Military Expansion in the Philippines!

US Troops OUT of the Philippines!