Public Information Officer
NPA Camarines Sur (Eduardo Olbara Command)
January 25, 2009
From Mindanao, a war-torn region of Southern Philippines, the RP-US Balikatan will be moving to the Bicol Peninsula. Undersecretary Edilberto Adan of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), in-charge of the RP-US military exercise, in his visit here last year said of the strong possibility that the RP-US Balikatan 2009 will be conducted in the region early this year as the area is very suitable for a joint military exercise. He also said that the joint military exercise would be beneficial to the country, specifically the AFP, who would learn new techniques in warfare, including the latest weapons while the US soldiers would learn more new jungle warfare maneuvers with the terrain the region has. He even stated in his statements that aside from the “US-RP War Games”, “humanitarian missions” will be conducted. Military officers and spokesperson of the SOLCOM, 9th ID, and 901st IB confirmed that it will happen sometime in February or April this year. The usual US-RP Balikatan exercise would last for six months under the Balikatan Terms of Reference (TOR).
The Civic-Military-Operations (CMO) Technical Working Group of the RP-US Balikatan 2009 visited the region last October 8-11, 2008 . Said group is responsible in the conduct of humanitarian missions such as medical and dental missions, construction of roads, school buildings, water system facilities, and farm to market roads and other activities in the five provinces of the region namely Sorsogon, Masbate, Albay, Catanduanes and Camarines Sur. In the province of Camarines Sur, incident of American troops visiting the municipality of Cabusao was reported. Said town is one among the recipient of an infrastructure project under the US-RP Balikatan 2009. There are reports gathered by our group that some of the on-going infrastructure projects in the province are said to be part of the “humanitarian mission” under the US-RP Balikatan 2009 which the government wants to remain undisclosed.
In the guise of “humanitarian missions” the people are deceived and are forced to believe the RP-US government’s altruism. We strongly believed that the objective of this US-RP Military Exercises is to deter the growth and development of the revolutionary movement in the region which is currently making history in its fight against US Imperialism and its local cohorts.
Government authorities say that the continuing presence of US troops in the Philippines is in accordance with the 1951 US-RP Mutual Defense Pact (MDP) and the 1998 Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA). Under the provisions granted in the Agreement ( VFA ) the RP-US Balikatan was designed to allow the presence of US troops as conduit of various US support to the AFP with permission to intervene in some internal affairs of the government.
Activities undertaken by the US-RP joint military exercise is an affront to the sovereignty, integrity, and violates some provisions of the Philippines Constitution. In the past joint RP-US military exercises in Mindanao and Southern Tagalog regions there were reported cases of violations such as beating up of civilians, as well as destruction of livelihood and environment. Among said violation is the massacre of eight civilians in Ipil, Maimbung Sulu committed by US troops and elements of the Philippines Marines last February 4, 2008. In the past 2002, ex Vice President of the Philippines then concurrent foreign affairs Secretary Teofisto Guingona submitted a memorandum to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo listing down several cases of U.S. violations of the VFA. Among the violations cited were unilateral training operations by U.S. troops at the former Clark airbase in Angeles City, Pampanga, north Metro Manila; unilateral flights and pollution of Subic Bay off Olongapo City, former site of a major U.S. naval base.
The revolutionary forces and all units of the New Peoples Army under the Eduardo Olbara command will not tolerate violations that will be committed by any US-RP troops in the province. We call on all people in the province to unite and uphold their sovereign rights as Filipino people and to actively join the fight against US Imperialism.
No to Balikatan! Down with US Imperialism!
Long Live the CPP, NPA, and NDF!
Ka Ramona Caceres
Eduardo Olbara Command