Reference: Valerie Francisco, Chairperson, GABRIELA USA, firstname.lastname@example.org
Over the last week, President Barack Obama made visits to Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines in hopes of securing relations throughout the Asia Pacific for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). On April 28th, before President Obama’s arrival in the Philippines, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and U.S. Ambassador Philip Goldberg signed the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), which will expand U.S. military presence and occupation in the Philippines. GABRIELA USA strongly opposes the TPP and EDCA – with the following reasons as to why it surrenders Philippine sovereignty, further violating the rights of the majority:
1. EDCA is an agreement for the filthy rich, not for the majority of the people.
President Obama emphasizes the U.S. government’s efforts in continuing humanitarian exercises for disaster relief after Typhoon Haiyan, justifying its increasing presence in Asia by scapegoating China as the major threat. Focus has been shifted off the fact that the U.S. and China are major commercial partners, with the U.S. economy actually dependant upon China. Given this history, the Obama administration’s reasoning for increased presence in the Asia-Pacific is ultimately a smoke-and-mirrors ruse to peddle a U.S.-led free trade agreement called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The motive is to secure economic, political and military domination over the region; with complete disregard for the livelihood and welfare of the people who live there – with women and children as the most impacted by such policies.
2. EDCA is unconstitutional and signs away Philippine national sovereignty.
The newly signed Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) reverses the popular vote decision to remove and disallow permanent U.S. military presence in the Philippines, violating the 1987 constitution. The Philippines already has subservient relations under U.S. imperialism, which prevents national industrialization, and causes extreme poverty for the majority of Filipinos. The TPP and EDCA puts previous imperialist policies to shame, as it relinquishes ALL rights to Philippine land, with the power to violate human rights without consequence to law, over to the U.S. EDCA allows the U.S. military to re-occupy military bases in the Philippines in a broad, more permanent scope; essentially giving the U.S. complete control over natural resources, cheap labor, and a strategic positioning in the Asia Pacific region. Both Presidents, Aquino and Obama, are positioning the Philippines to enter the TPP, which would allow multi-national corporations free reign over 100% of Philippine industries.
3. More U.S. military bases equals devastating impacts on women and children in the Philippines, and throughout the world.
Similar to the various countries where U.S. military is present, it is historically documented that Filipino women and children are the first to suffer whenever troops arrive. Generations of Filipino women have never seen justice against their American rapists, while orphaned Amerasian children are continuously abandoned by American fathers. As in the case of Suzette “Nicole” Nicolas, who was raped by U.S. Marine Lance Corporal Daniel Smith in 2005, despite his being convicted by Philippine courts, did not serve time because of U.S. intervention. In fact, no U.S. military personnel stationed in the Philippines has ever been arrested or charged for rape, harassment, or murder.
4. Exploitation, Deprivation, Dislocation.
In Third World countries like the Philippines, unequal U.S. foreign policies and trade agreements like the TPP and EDCA continue to create conditions for the systematic dislocation of poor people, forcing thousands to leave their country everyday and seek work elsewhere. However, fleeing to countries like the U.S. is not the safe solution, with those migrating in search of better conditions, also prone to becoming victims of human trafficking to parasitic employment agencies. Many jobs abroad are marketed to women, and in turn, are victims of gender violence in additions to the economic exploitation they experience. As migrant women experience wage theft, exploitation and abuse, the cost of basic commodities continue to rise. In the Philippines, there is a continued lack of access to adequate women’s reproductive health care, medicine and services, solutions for unemployment, and the constant threat of evictions and demolitions. Under the TPP and EDCA conditions will only worsen for poor women and their families; creating destruction far worse than any natural disaster that has hit the Philippines.
5. U.S. taxpayers involuntarily contribute billions of dollars annually for U.S. military expenses while the global economic crisis worsens, depriving basic needs and services.
The only country that has 900 bases in over 130 countries around the world, the U.S. spends over $500 billion yearly to protect the imperialist interests of the richest 1% of the world, through military alliances with third world puppet regimes. In the U.S., while the military budget increases – big banks and corporations are bailed out, millions of people are jobless, losing their homes or being displaced due to gentrification. At the same time, the budget for social services and basic needs continue to be drastically slashed to bare bone.
GABRIELA USA will continue to fight U.S. imperialism alongside people globally who are uniting in response to unfair policies, and the clear unequal distribution of wealth. The global economic crisis brought upon by imperialism is bound to fail in the face of people’s resistance against this oppressive system. The proof is in the policies and lies of politicians. Long live International Solidarity!
Stop the Rape of our Motherland!
Our women are not your toys, our country is not your playground!
US Troops out of the Philippines and Asia NOW! No to TPP! Junk EDCA!
Stop Imperialist Wars of Aggression!