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BAYAN to BBM: Do not let PH be another Ukraine

‘US puppet Zelensky led his country to war against Russia’

Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) urged President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to protect the Philippines from becoming another Ukraine, a casualty in another proxy war by the United States of America (USA) against its rivals.

In a statement on President Marcos’ meeting with Ukranian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday, the group said it is against the national interests of the Philippines to be drawn into a shooting war between the USA and China in the manner that Ukraine is a “mere pawn” between the rivalry between the North American superpower and Russia.

Marcos met with Zelensky at Malacanan Palace on June 3 when the latter thanked the Philippine government for its pro-Ukraine statements since the start of the conflict in February 2022.

Zelensky followed Marcos to Manila after their mutual attendance at the Shangrila Dialogue in Singapore to seek stronger support for Ukraine in its ongoing and long-drawn war against Russia.

The European head of state also invited Marcos to attend a pro-Ukraine event to be held in Switzerland in the future.

Marcos for his part told Zelensky his government would extend whatever it could to Ukraine.

Bayan however said the US-controlled North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is to blame for the war between Ukraine and Russia.

“NATO expansion in Ukraine was among the factors that escalated the conflict,” Bayan said.

The Minsk Agreement of 1991, co-signed by Russia, Belarus and Ukraine, dissolved the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and stipulated assurances from the US, NATO and Western powers that former Warsaw Pact member countries would not be made NATO members that would threaten Russia along its borders.

NATO however has added 16 new member states since then, many of which border with Russia and have undergone political turmoil seen as encouraged by Western powers such as the US.

Zelensky’s government has applied for NATO membership that analysts said was among the reasons for Russia’s offensive against Ukraine.

Bayan said US and China are engaged in a similar inter-imperialist rivalry with the West Philippine Sea (WPS) as battle ground.

“We should by now learn from the experience of Ukraine. We should be wary of being a US pawn, and should reject all attempts at making the Philippines a US military outpost,” Bayan president Renato Reyes said.

“If the Ukraine experience teaches us anything, US war provocations and escalation of tensions will not be in our national interest. The Filipino people demand an end to US bases and troops and China’s aggressive actions,” Reyes added.

Bayan said the WPS should be immediately demilitarized and all forms of imperialist domination should end.

The group said the Philippines must stand up to China in the latter’s aggression in the region but must also reject US war provocations and escalation of conflict. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

CPP condemns US ‘warmongering’ in Ukraine

Tension in Eastern Europe propels PH oil prices sky high

The Philippine Left blames the United States of America for the escalating tension in Eastern Europe as several North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)-member countries announced the first wave of sanctions against the Russian Federation following its recognition of two regions in Ukraine as “independent”.

In a statement, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) said the US is provoking Russia by pushing for Ukraine’s inclusion into NATO and by taking measures to oppose the commercial operations of Russia’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipelines.

Russia considers Ukraine’s NATO inclusion a “red line” as it would allow the US and its military allies to position troops, tanks, missiles and other military matériel right next to its border, the CPP said.

“Russia fears that the inclusion of Ukraine into the NATO, which is being compared to Mexico joining a Chinese- or Russian-led alliance, will reinforce the US network of military bases in its state of Alaska, in Poland, Romania and other countries close to the Russian border,” the group revealed.

War and oil, again

The CPP said that to further provoke Russia, the US has been opposing Nord Stream 2, a natural gas pipeline that is capable of transporting twice the amount that is currently being supplied by Russia to Germany, France, Italy and the rest of western Europe.

The group said that the US demands that Europe buy US shale oil and thus favor American fracking interests, going as far as arm-twisting Germany to turn back on its contracts with Russia.

The CPP said that Russia’s positioning of tanks and an estimated 100,000 troops in its western borders with Ukraine, as well as in the southern borders of Belarus are clearly part of Russia’s political and diplomatic tactics to oppose moves for Ukraine’s inclusion into the NATO and seal its agreements for the operation of the Nord Stream 2.

“Russia is pushing for renewed negotiations to reaffirm previous agreements surrounding the Donbass region, explicit prohibition of the eastward expansion of NATO to Ukraine and other countries, and a ban on US and NATO intermediate-range missile in countries within striking distance of Russia,” the CPP said.

Russia’s response

Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin earlier this week signed declarations recognizing the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Luhansk People’s Republic in the Donbass region west of Ukraine as independent.

Russia has repeatedly accused the Ukrainian government of political persecution of Russian-speaking residents in the region who expressed desire for independence from Kiev.

Russia has also conducted military exercises with Belarus the NATO allege is in preparation for the “imminent invasion” of Ukraine.

On Tuesday, February 22, Western media reported that Putin has sent hundreds of tanks into the Donbass Region.

Russia said its new troop disposition are in preparations for “peace-keeping missions.”

The US and the United Kingdom countered the development by announcing its planned sanctions against several Russian banks and businessmen.

The CPP however said that should war break out in the region, the US military industrial complex and its Department of Defense stand to benefit the most.

The US government has allotted a record $768 billion 2022 budget for its defense department, the group said.

“After withdrawing from Afghanistan, the US imperialists are bent on inciting another long-drawn armed conflict onto which it can pour its surplus arms and induce production of more weapons,” it added.

PISTON members demand oil price mechanisms in the face of unrelenting price hikes since the start of the year. (Photo by Joseph Cuevas/Kodao)

How the tension affects the Philippines

The tension in Ukraine has deeply affected the Philippines with weekly oil price increases for nine weeks running since the year started.

Gasoline prices now cost more than Php80 per liter in Puerto Princesa City and in other cities outside of the National Capital Region.

Transport group Pinagkaisang Samahan ng Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide (PISTON) said it is time to re-nationalize the Philippine oil industry to better protect the people during international crises that impact global oil prices.

In yet another protest rally in Quezon City, jeepney drivers said steep oil prices prevent them plying their routes that worsen the country’s transportation woes under the global coronavirus pandemic.

Food traders, such as canned sardine manufacturers, have given public notice of their plan to increase prices due to the weekly oil price hikes.

PISTON also demanded the removal of the oil excise tax and the imposition of price control mechanisms to halt oil price hikes.

The removal of the excise tax on oil with make gasoline and diesel prices cheaper by at least six pesos per liter, the group said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)