Bagong Alyansang Makabayan warns that the war exercises between the Philippine military and foreign troops in various parts of the country will stoke regional geopolitical tension aside from violating our sovereignty.
More than 1,000 Filipino soldiers and more than 2,000 American soldiers are taking part in the three-week-long exercises called Salaknib which involve multiple small-arms and maneuver live fire exercises (LFX), jungle training, and artillery and mortar LFX activities.
Meanwhile, the Balikatan exercises in April will include 12,000 troops from the United States, 111 from Australia, and observers from Japan’s defense forces. It will be the biggest Balikatan exercise with the US military bringing their Patriot surface-to-air missiles and the HIMARS rocket system.
We reiterate that war exercises have less to do with protecting the national interest than to promote a self-serving imperialist agenda.
If the government of Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is intent on defending our maritime territories in the West Philippine Sea, it should strongly assert diplomatic means which includes invoking the UN tribunal ruling to counter China’s aggressive actions.
The Philippines should work with its neighbors to call for the immediate demilitarization of the West Philippine Sea and South China Sea.
Inviting foreign troops to conduct war exercises and build military facilities are counterproductive and could further undermine regional stability.
War games are costly in terms of its severe social and environmental impact. Public funds should be used to address hunger, poverty, and rising prices instead of hosting soldiers from our former colonial aggressors.
War games intensify local conflict, human rights abuses, and corruption in the military. The armaments used in the exercises can be deployed by the government as it pursues its brutal counterinsurgency program. There is lack of transparency about the extent of involvement of foreign troops in the government counterinsurgency program.
We should defend our borders without sacrificing our national sovereignty. Only a puppet government like Marcos will claim that expanding the presence of foreign troops is necessary to protect our independence.
We call on freedom-loving Filipinos to honor the legacy of our independence fighters and heroes by resisting all forms of foreign military intervention.
Foreign troops out now!
No to Balikatan exercise!
Marcos tuta ng imperyalismo!