THE Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) today denounced American military presence and “armed interference” in the ongoing operations of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in Marawi City against the Maute and Abu Sayyaf groups.
As the battle in Marawi enters its 21st day and as the country commemorates the 119th anniversary of the declaration of independence from Spanish colonialism, the CPP said Philippine independence remains false with American military intervention.
Both the Department of National Defense (DND) and the United States embassy in Manila admitted last Saturday the presence of US troops in Marawi for “technical assistance” after an American P3 Orion surveillance plane was recorded flying over the besieged city.
Armed US troops were also photographed in Marawi despite assurances by government officials the American had “no boots on the ground.”
“No US troops are taking part in ground operations,” Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez, commander of the armed forces Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), told reporters.
The CPP said the fact that the AFP is fed with intelligence information by the US military means it is remote-controlled by a foreign armed force in violation of Philippine sovereignty.
The AFP had been battling the Maute and Abu Sayyaf groups in Marawi since May 23 that has resulted in the death of 58 AFP troopers so far.
AFP chief of staff Eduardo Año yesterday said government troops are still battling about 400 armed men in Marawi.
In a separate press briefing, however, President Rodrigo Duterte said only two buildings in the city remain to be cleared of snipers.
Not serious for an independent foreign policy
The CPP also scored Duterte for “meekly accepting the presence of American soldiers” in the fighting.
Duterte professed ignorance of US military assistance and participation in the Marawi operations, saying it was the DND which decided about the matter.
“Duterte has declared he will just be thankful for the situation and allow the AFP and DND to let it continue allowing US presence. In doing so, however, he has practically affirmed his complicity with the intervention of a foreign military power,” the CPP said.
The CPP said Duterte’s reaction to US military presence in Marawi contrasted with how vigorously he denounced the alleged presence of foreigners among those he identified as terrorist groups.
“In letting the US military to continue remote-controlling the AFP and US soldiers to participate in combat operations in Marawi, Duterte is raising the Filipino people’s doubts as to the seriousness or trifleness of his riling against US military intervention and declarations for an independent foreign policy, the CPP said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva/Featured image by Barry Dacanay/The Breakaway Media)