Filipino-American activists hounded President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. who is in Washington DC for an official visit, protesting the Philippine government’s military deals with the United States of America (USA).
Staging rallies at the White House and at the posh Ritz-Carlton Hotel where Marcos had dinner with some members of the Filipino community in the American capital, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-USA said the President’s visit signifies the “further selling out of the Philippines.”
The activists said Marcos’ visit are to secure deals to further enrich those in power and expand US military presence throughout the archipelago.
Marcos’ visit came at the heels of the biggest war games between the two countries and the approval of four additional US military sites under an expanded Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).
In a statement, BAYAN-USA said additional US military presence in Cagayan, Isabela, and Palawan provinces “will only put the Filipino people in more danger of being in the crossfires of war.”
Both governments have earlier denied that the new EDCA sites and the biggest war exercises between the two countries in history is connected with the Chinese government’s aggressive military actions in the region.
On his way to the United States, Marcos stated: “We will not encourage any provocative action that will involve the Philippines by any other country… We will not allow the Philippines to be used as a staging post for any kind of military action.”
BAYAN USA in return asked, “Have you not read the provisions of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement? Prepositioning equipment is clearly and has historically been part of war preparation.”
The group added that no assurances made by the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs nor statements from Marcos that the president is allowing the country to be used as a staging post for war.
“The Filipino people must not allow this to continue,” the group added.
‘Ironclad military alliance’
In their White House meeting Monday, US President Joseph Biden reaffirmed US’ “ironclad alliance” commitments to the Philippines, “underscoring that an armed attack on Philippine armed forces, public vessels, or aircraft in the Pacific, including the South China Sea, would invoke his country’s mutual defense commitments under Article IV of the 1952 US-Philippine Mutual Defense Treaty.
Both leaders also affirmed the importance of maintaining “peace and stability” across the Taiwan Strait following heightened military tensions between the Republic of China and the People’s Democratic Republic of China.
Biden and Marcos also talked about economic development, environmental protection, human rights, the war in Eastern Europe, among other mutual concerns.
With Marcos in his visit were former Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, House of Representatives Speaker Martin Romualdez, eight Cabinet secretaries, First Lady Marie Louise Marcos and Rep, Zandro Marcos. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)